This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
Better Groceries for Less Cash
101 Tested & Proven Ways to Save on Food
By Randall Putala © 2008
Copyright © 2008 by Randall Putala All rights reserved For information about permission to reproduce selections from this book, write to Permissions c/o SDMI, 5010 Linbar Drive, Suite 130, Nashville, TN 37211. www.grocerysavings.us Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Putala, Randall Better Groceries for Less Cash / Randall Putala ISBN 978-0-9777106-0-7. Printed in the United States of America Book design by John Hreha
Healthier Meals Chapter 17: Planning Your Menus Chapter 18: Miscellaneous Cost Cutters Chapter 19: Online Coupon Hunting Chapter 20: Grocery Store Etiquette Chapter 21: Miscellaneous Time-Saving / Money-Saving Tips Closing Notes Glossary Savings Examples 4 7 9 13 19 23 33 49 59 61 71 77 81 83 89 93 97 103 123 129 135 139 143 144 146 . Real Cooking Chapter 15: A System for Cooking = A System for Savings Chapter 16: Quick-Cooking: The Secret to Happier. Coupon Litmus Test Chapter 9: Clubs. aka “Your Check’s in the Mail” Chapter 11: A Rebate Returned is Money Earned Chapter 12: The Economics of Food Chapter 13: Smart Grocery Choices & Core Ingredients Chapter 14: Real Food. Cards & Counterintelligence Chapter 10: The Power of Rebate Clubs.Contents Foreword Chapter 1: What Color is Your Shopping Cart? Chapter 2: The “7 Deadly Sins” Chapter 3: Here’s Your Sign Chapter 4: The “12 Steps to Recovery” Chapter 5: The Myths & Misconceptions of Store Coupons Chapter 6: Strategy & Tactics: How to Win the War for Your Wallet Chapter 7: Couponing Tactics: The Simplest Way To Organize Coupons Chapter 8: The Currency vs.
But I do want your sworn assurance that nobody – absolutely nobody – will pay more than me for the identical vehicle. The salesman looks stunned. I won't accept them. They'll print out comparison reports from the internet. But as you’ll see in the pages of this book. correct?" If you're thinking this scenario is a little farfetched. He says to the salesman. I'm buying from you"." The salesman recovers his wits and is delighted by his good fortune. And based on the way most people view food shopping. for a purchase made once every five or six years that immediately loses about 10% of its value when you drive it off the lot. but the man goes on: "And don't even try to give me a better deal. probably never stop to scrutinize the details of their grocery receipts. No freebies or add-ons. it’s not that far removed from the everyday reality that most people experience in their grocery store. Are groceries the new “high ticket items” of our current economy? Just look at your 4 . "I want to buy your finest vehicle and I'll pay the full sticker price.Foreword A man walks into a car dealership. they'll even threaten to walk out of the dealership if they don't get the concessions they want. concocting elaborate schemes to 'work the sales person down'. he replies. I don't care that the dealership down the street offers a lower price. it’s not really as absurd as you might think. Most people pride themselves on getting the absolute best deal on a new car. All this. "my last customer took out a 5 year extended warranty. of course you're correct. call every dealership in a 50 mile radius – heck. I'm assuming that you'll want the 10 year warranty. That’s because most people view food shopping as an entirely different process than shopping for other items – especially high-ticket items. whether it is competitive or not. Without blinking an eyelash now. Yet these very same consumers who spend countless hours scheming and negotiating to get the best deal on their new car.
I really will show you how to enjoy savings of 30% . And at the end of the day. Read. "You'll Pay More – And LIKE It". They represent 15% to 20% of most household budgets. They can ridicule the coupon-clippers and laugh that they tip more than that to the valet parkers at their country club. Does this make any sense to anybody??? Imagine the headlines if we had 'truth in advertising' and the grocery stores were forced to follow it: "Nobody Soaks You Better". week in and week out.000 in savings they could enjoy over the course of their life. will shudder at the thought of clipping grocery coupons. Is this you? Do you light your cigars with $100 bills? Do you consider yourself the equal of the guy in the ‘Monopoly” game with the monacle and the bow tie? If so. Sure.receipts. as if they couldn't use an extra $1. enjoy. you probably don't need to clip coupons. and happy savings! 5 .000 or more per year. it's pretty much a one-time investment. But groceries are bought every single week of every single year. I'm being facetious. like clockwork. take a deep breath and relax: this book is for you. If so. It’s no big deal for someone like that to dismiss the $40. or "Why Pay Less When We Can Charge You More?" Of course. But the same people who will drive 5 miles out of their way to save a nickel on gasoline. that you’re NOT that guy. if your money grows on trees or you discover the secret of alchemy. and you’ll get the answer immediately. put this book down immediately and go count your Krugerrands! I’m guessing. and just maybe you would enjoy saving $100 or $200 per month. and I really can show you how to do it. perhaps. a new car can last you many years with a bit of regular maintenance. yet most people are PROUD to pay full price for everything from produce to pizza pies to polka-dot party plates. Just maybe you don't carry a money clip with a wad of $100 bills. "I'm not poor!" they insist. Welcome to the bizarre world of economics 101.40% – even 50% off your grocery bill. You see.000 or $50.
S. If you find yourself drifting back into old habits. I've listed my "101 Big Ideas" at the end of each chapter to summarize the key points.Randall Putala Author P. 6 . refer to these time and again for a quick 'refresher course' to help you save money throughout your lifetime. just breeze through the “101 Big Ideas” to remember how to get back on track.
I'm too busy. I may end up with all the wrong stuff and I'm not sure if I'm getting a good deal. Which of the following grocery shoppers best describes you? 1. I'm going to select the finest core ingredients and plan my meals as I go based on the best deals I find in my store today. highest price. 3. I'll save 30% or more on my groceries. Time is not as important to me as saving money. just give me the makings of a quick meal and I'm out of here. Let me compare the prices of each item on the shelf. JUST GIVE ME SOMETHING TO EAT. I'M IN A HURRY. Let me grab the most expensive fruits and vegetables and the most expensive precooked items at the deli counter. or position on the shelf ). I'M IN A HURRY. Let me grab the highest-quality items on the shelf (based on brand name. but it's just not possible with my schedule. I'll buy whatever is in front of me or whatever catches my eye today. I'M IN A HURRY. I want the best for my family and I'll buy it even if I can't afford it. AND I'M FRUGAL. I'M CHOOSY. advertising campaign. 4. 2. I've reviewed my store's sales flyer in advance and selected the special deals and coupons I'm going to use. 5. let's determine what type of grocery shopper you are at present.Chapter 1: What Color is Your Shopping Cart? Before we discuss ways to save money at the grocery store. I can find some other area of my life to cut costs – maybe. I'll be out of here in no time. but at least I'm bringing home something edible. LET ME COMPARE. I WANT THE BEST STUFF. I've got a family to feed. and pick the cheapest one. I've planned out my shopping trip to cut my in-store time to a minimum. I'd like to save money. I'll easily pay only a FRACTION of what most others pay and my family will probably be 7 . OUT OF MY WAY. I'M LOST. AND I'M CHOOSY.
please read it again. It's that simple. 8 . You CANNOT CONTROL the prices that the grocery store charges you. Here. a first-names-only group for people who habitually pay too much for their groceries. The MINDSET you bring into the grocery store is what determines the amount you will pay for your food. It's a very good sign that you're willing to attend today's meeting. It's that simple. our therapy starts with the MINDSET you carry with you into the store. Change your mindset. Big Idea Recap – Chapter 1 BIG IDEA 1: The MINDSET you bring with you into the grocery store is what determines the amount you will pay for your food. But you CAN CONTROL your mindset about the items you will need to prepare your meals and hence you CAN CONTROL the items you put into your cart. Now. So do it. and you'll lower your food costs. Change your mindset. It’s very important. because this means you've acknowledged the problem and are willing to take action to change it.eating better and healthier food than theirs. If that paragraph didn’t resound like a fire alarm in your brain. Wouldn't you like to be in that final group? Welcome to the first meeting of "Grocery Shoppers Anonymous". and you will lower your food costs.
freezer. 4. Are you experiencing these symptoms? a. You never seem to get around to cooking the items you purchase. and they sometimes go bad before you realize it. A budgeting problem is hardly ever managed by reducing the AMOUNT of food you bring home. they're a good indication that you are purchasing the wrong items – or 9 . or is it OUT OF CONTROL? 2. you have items that disappear as soon as you bring them home. If the food that you thought you needed is still in your fridge. What percent of your family's take-home monthly income is going towards food? Is it reasonable. d. Keep your receipts for one month. If this is the case. You get significant complaints whenever you serve the items you purchase. "there's nothing to eat". and everyone likes different things from time to time. Insufficient food supply. Conversely. Add up the total of all your grocery purchases. Unhappy campers. you probably have a troupe of unhappy campers and it's your job as the conscientious and devoted parent you are to address this problem. you're probably suffering from an insufficient food supply. c. If you often find one of your kids standing in front of the refrigerator shouting. You have items that you never seem to run out of. This is also known as spending too much on not enough. Everyone is different.Chapter 2: The "7 Deadly Sins" (Signs that you may be losing the "grocery game") 1. you may not be making smart choices for your family. Does your family ever politely suggest that your menu choices somehow fail to live up to their expectations? (Or perhaps they throw their full plates into the sink and yell "this food #*!)@"</&#s!"). If any of these symptoms apply to the food situation in your home. High grocery expenses. Uneaten goods. b. A strategy like this does not make for happy campers and is rarely sustainable. 3. or pantry months after the fact.
You can adequately feed a family of 5 for a few dollars if you select the right foods and recipes. or you're making too many different dishes during a given time frame. "how could you pay $X for THAT?" You probably don't want to admit that you didn't check the price in the first place. 5. You're cooking the wrong stuff. keep reading. so you did. b. item by item. There is a HUGE disconnect between this premise and the reality of the situation. Your family just isn't "into" to the food you're cooking. 7. It's important to correct this type of eating disorder early-on – and this book can help you. It just looked good at the time. and your budget will 10 . Your cooking proportions are too large. You may not even know WHY you put it in your cart. Do you routinely throw a significant amount of food in the trash or down the drain? This means one of two things: a. Binge snacking. Steer yourself back to the basics. You're cooking too much food.) The primary job of grocery store marketers is to make you believe that you NEED their product to adequately feed and appease your family. The TV commercials you watch and the magazine ads you read are designed by food manufacturers to steer you away from cooking fresh foods and steer you toward buying their the high-priced pre-mixed concoctions.the wrong quantities of items – for your family's needs. Have you ever come home from the grocery store and really looked at your receipt? I mean more than just glancing at it – I mean reading it line for line. (More on this subject later in the book. Your significant other might even weigh in with their opinion. Sometimes the items that looked so good at the store cause palpitations when you see what you actually paid for them. Sticker shock. Excessive leftovers. But something made you want to take that action. so you put it in your cart. Are frequent snacks replacing meal times in your household? Do your kids skip the meals you cook only to wolf down an entire bag of chips at midnight? Eating the wrong kinds of food – at the wrong times – in the wrong quantities – can very quickly translate into serious health problems. but few people notice it. 6.
Re-program your brain to ignore these messages and rely on your own common sense to buy core ingredients instead. expensive meals. are all geared toward getting you to FORGET about cooking fresh and rely on pre-mixed. BIG IDEA 3: Your family is not going to be willing to eat LESS. The second choice may seem a little painful at first. you either have to sacrifice some of the things you currently enjoy. If you can learn a few simple techniques to stretch your food budget and allow them to eat BETTER.thank you for it. Is your income rising to keep pace? If not. and even the signs in the grocery store. BIG IDEA 5: The TV commercials you watch. 11 . it doesn't matter what you're buying or what you're cooking: something is significantly wrong in your relationship with food. pre-cooked. prebagged. Big Idea Recap – Chapter 2 BIG IDEA 2: Grocery prices are rising faster than just about any other commodity in your life. you'll all be happier and healthier. BIG IDEA 4: If your garbage disposal consumes more food than your family. the print ads in your magazines. or find a way to buy more for less. but remember that in today's economy you're going to have to work harder JUST TO STAY EVEN.
Chapter 3: Here’s Your Sign
Let’s take a closer look at each of the 5 classic shopper types, and how grocery store owners attempt to extract the most possible cash out of each of your wallets – i.e. how each of your may be losing “the grocery game.” 1. "OUT OF MY WAY, I'M IN A HURRY". You just got off work. Latchkey kid #1 is at his friend's house waiting for you to get home. Sports jock kid #2 is due back from baseball practice in 45 minutes. Workaholic hubby gets home in about an hour. All three are expecting a good dinner, meticulously prepared by tender, loving you. Your approach: "GET OUT OF MY WAY, GALS, OR I'LL MOW YOU DOWN!" You're zooming through the aisles snagging boxes and cans of anything that looks fast and edible that will pacify the hungry mob at home. Saving money on groceries is just about the furthest thing on your mind. Until you balance the checkbook later that week. Uh-oh. "How did we spend $900 on groceries last month? That's UN-BEE-LEEVABLE! What, do you not check the prices? Don't you ever buy things on sale?" Here are some tips exclusively for this shopper type: a. BLOCK IT. Create a 'block' of recipes and ingredients that you can fall back on. I recommend buying a small pocket-sized spiral book. Write down the simple recipes for meals you know your family will eat. List the ingredients you'll need. Divide this notebook into 6 sections and highlight the bottom with a marker to create visual tabs for quick reference: i. Main Courses. List the simple things your family will eat like Sloppy Joes, Hamburgers, Casserole, Chicken Fingers, etc. ii. Side Dishes. List things like Macaroni & Cheese, Baked Potatoes, Vegetable Medley, Au Gratin Potatoes, etc. iii. Snacks. List simple recipes you can make to pacify the hungry mob at odd hours of the day, things like Caramel Corn, Potato Skins, Nachos, Sandwiches, Fruit Salads, etc.
b. REPLACE IT. Use these blocks of recipes to purchase core ingredients at the store, INSTEAD of the bags of pre-mixed / precooked items you've been buying. As you build your list of substitute recipes, you'll slowly wean yourself away from buying the higherpriced items. Add to your list of recipes by browsing the web. Buy some cheap cookbooks at yard sales, or check some out from the library. Keep adding to your list of recipes. If the family hates it, tear the sheet out of your notebook. If they love it, put a star by it. The more you document your cooking successes and failures, the more you'll save. By writing down the things you learn in the kitchen – whether from a recipe, a book, or simple experimentation – the more you'll learn about how to both please your family with better recipes, and save on the ingredients that make up those recipes. You cannot rely on your memory to remember 'how you did it last time', but you can rely on your own notes. 2. I'M CHOOSY. LET ME COMPARE. If you're a slow and steady shopper but you just can't seem to save money, this description fits you to a T. You compare prices closely: The name-brand item is 99¢, and the off-brand is 89¢. So you buy the off-brand, thinking you're saving money. Not necessarily! If you had clipped a coupon from the Sunday paper for 25¢ off the name-brand item, your grocer would have doubled it, saving you 50¢ on the name-brand item. Final cost = 49¢ for the name-brand item vs. 89¢ for the off-brand item. You would have just reduced your cost of that item by almost 45%! Suggestions for this category of shopper: a. CLIP IT. Clip coupons for every conceivable item you might buy at the store. You're already good at comparing prices. Factor in the power of coupons; it can really impact your budget. b. COMPARE IT. If you're good at reviewing ingredients, compare the cost of buying the fresh ingredients vs. buying the premixed items. For example, if you like the convenience of frozen bagged dinners, consider buying larger portions of each key ingredient, and then chopping down and bagging your OWN version of the premixed dinners. You can prepare 5 or 10 meals in a single afternoon, and lower your cost of each meal by 50% or more!
3. I'M IN A HURRY, AND I'M CHOOSY. This type of shopper is both finicky and non-frugal. You're the grocery manager's dream customer. They place the most expensive and appealing items at the end caps of the aisles and in the aisle bins, knowing you'll like the look of these particular selections and won't consider the alternatives or the lower-priced items. You are perhaps the hardest nut to crack in the grocery savings game. The best advice I can give you is as follows: a. PORTION CONTROL. Continue to buy the premium ready-made foods your family loves; just buy less of it Make allnatural side dishes to add depth to your meal, while reducing costs. b. MEAL FILLERS. Add items to your menu that are fast, easy, and economical to cook. Put these on the plate along with smaller portions of the premium foods. This way your family fills up on healthy foods – just not the most expensive healthy foods. For example, let's say you typically bring home about $50 worth of Sushi to make a quick dinner for your crew. Try buying $15 worth of Sushi, but add side dishes such as rice with gravy, rice cakes topped with cream cheese and a small dollop of caviar (see, you can upgrade and still save money!) Or how about some celery pieces filled with tuna fish salad on the side? If you're creative, you can fill out the plate with lower-cost items that complement your original menu choices just fine. c. CHANGE THE SOURCE OF THE SAME FOOD YOU SERVE. For example, if you buy take-out Chinese once a week and spend $50 on one meal, consider buying $10 worth of Chinese food and adding some side dishes that you cook at home. One food manufacturer, everyone's favorite uncle, makes a fast-cooking preseasoned rice mix in foil pouches. There are always 2-for-1 deals at the store, and frequently there are coupons for this item in the Sunday paper. It means that you can get real deals on this product. It's fast to cook, and it's delicious. Plus, you'll end up paying 25¢ or so per portion vs. $2.00 per portion for rice from the Chinese take-out place. You don't have to give up the f ine foods you know and love. To save money, simply buy less of the premium meal items and prepare valuebased side dishes to supplement the main food selections. If you plan
Cook for 5 minutes on high. Chances are you feel pretty hopeless when it's time to grocery shop. if you're trying to bake a potato in your microwave. and write down notes for this. If you need more time. until you get it absolutely right. You now have detailed notes that you can read anytime you plan to make a baked potato. For example. b. If you are this type of shopper. Take really. "5 breakfast items". If this works. though. As you master each new step. 8 minutes. The best bets to get you on a more logical course in your grocery store visits are: a. Containment is the key word here. Next. Rest assured. If you can find coupons in the Sunday paper for some of the things you like.these side dishes carefully. clip them out and put them in an envelope. like "3 meat items". really. Try to get to the point that you're reaching your goal of the number of items in each category. Wet the potato with running water iii. small steps to organize your shopping trips. START SMALL. all is not lost. You're really more of an open slate and one of the easiest to set on the right course. Poke holes in potato with fork ii. Sprinkle it with sea salt iv. writing down how many items you'll need that week from each category. you should be pretty open to new suggestions. If you actually enjoy wandering around the grocery store like a lost helium balloon. etc. MASTER SOME SIMPLE FOOD ITEMS. you're building your own cookbook of things that you know you can cook. Make a simple list by category. that will turn out perfectly. great. change it to 7 minutes. 4. as well as the things you did that DIDN'T work. etc. I'M LOST. the variety will make your meals healthier and enhance your main items as well. Keep it simple. JUST GIVE ME SOMETHING TO EAT. closely followed by completion of your assigned task. Work on learning to cook individual items really well. and keep a small spiral binder to note down what you've learned. Isn't that a great feeling? 16 . write down the steps: i. and stop there. REALLY. Be specific and write down the things you did that worked. you may a problem. try cooking 2 potatoes at once.
000 raise at work. I'M IN A HURRY. book. you're ready for the master class. But with at least 70% of your shopping cart items. or simple trial & error – the more you'll learn about how to both please your family 17 . Since these are 'after tax' savings – it is like getting a $5. 5. Big Idea Recap – Chapter 3 BIG IDEA 6: The more you document. Watch the cooking shows on TV to see how professional chefs do things. By writing down the things you learn in the kitchen – whether by recipe.27 – he's kind of wondering what you did. AND I'M CHEAP.500 – $3. down. When your 'total savings' amount is $50. It will make you think about each of your selections and how they will affect your total.500 or more per year on groceries. Some items will be necessities. You'll waste a lot of food and put up with unhappy diners every now and again – but use recipes and cook books to help get you 'in the ballpark'. and stay cheap. The checkout clerk and bag boy were amazed at how little you paid for so much food. down. I WANT THE BEST STUFF. If you mentally prepare yourself to reach this level. $60. Get cheap. while kind of ticked off at how long the cashier took to scan all of your coupons. The guy in line behind you. chock full of the finest foods in the store.Trial and error in the kitchen can be a valuable thing and it will help you determine what works for you. It just takes practice to know what works. The tips and techniques outlined in this book will be like manna in the desert: you're ready to shop. Imagine being able to wheel your cart out of the supermarket. down.000 – $3. was fascinated watching the 'amount due' total going down. You can experience this every week – year-in and year-out – so you are literally saving $2. and you won't always have a coupon for them or an alternative lower-cost option. the more you'll save. Approach the grocery store with a mission in mind: to show the maximum amount of savings on your receipt at the end of the trip. you CAN do better if you just review your options. and then doing those same things next time you cook. The reason it looks so effortless on TV is because cooking is really very simple. $70 or more – and his 'total savings' amount is $2.
You cannot rely on your memory to remember 'how you did it last time'. you CAN do better if you just review your options. BIG IDEA 7: Want the convenience of 'single bag / single pan' cooking? Mix your own freezer bags full of core ingredients in advance. and you can prepare an entire month's worth of meals in a single afternoon. But you'll waste a lot of food and have unhappy and unfed diners who won't appreciate your efforts. Watch the cooking shows on TV to see how they do things. or an alternative lower-cost selection to make. and save on the ingredients that make up those recipes.with better recipes. Use recipes and cook books to help get you 'in the ballpark' of cooking success before you get started. Learn what works for you. To save money. but you can rely on your own notes. the variety will make your meals healthier and enhance the enjoyment of your main items. is because cooking is really very simple. BIG IDEA 9: Trial and error in the kitchen can be a valuable thing and help you determine what works for you. and you won't always have a coupon for it. BIG IDEA 8: You don't have to give up on the fine foods your family craves. and document it so you can continue to build on your simple successes in the kitchen. Some items will be necessities. and stay cheap. It will make you think about each one of your selections and how they will affect your total. Approach the grocery store with a mission in mind: to show the maximum amount of savings on your receipt at the end of the trip. But with at least 70% of your shopping cart items. 18 . The reason it looks so effortless to them. If you plan these side dishes carefully. simply buy less of them and prepare value-based side dishes to supplement your main food selections. BIG IDEA 10: Get cheap.
Step 4 – Reflect. If you still don’t understand the connection.Chapter 4: The “12 Steps to Recovery” If you are a candidate "Grocery Shoppers Anonymous". and what experiences in the past are causing you to make these purchases over and over again. Once you've taken a closer look at your groceries. Seriously. Your second step on the road to recovery involves believe that you actually can pay less for your groceries. You must first of all admit that you need help cutting your grocery costs. If you do what you've always done. Once you've uncovered the current negatives 19 . your mental attitude. Write down how they make you feel. here is a list of the 12 steps on the road to recovery (with my apologies to every real 12step program out there. and your weight. What is REALLY going on here…? How do you really feel about food? Examine your motives for buying the types of food you buy. If you're currently paying $200 per week. Take a close look at your mental relationship with food and your family's groceries. Step 2 – Believe. Step 6 – Reconsider. Step 5 – Affirm.) Step 1 – Acknowledge. and what they are doing to your health. seek professional counseling. you're probably going to be aware that some of the items that regularly appear in your shopping cart are perhaps not the best choices. visualize yourself paying $100... If you don't think you have a problem (or won't admit it) you won't get anywhere. Stand by this realization. Step 3 – Be Flexible. You don't have to eat foods you don't like but you've at least got to try out new things once in a while. Once you can visualize the change you want. Make yourself accept it. It can be a big help. write down the individual items that you think are causing the problem. If you don’t understand why you do the things you do. Change is all about visualization at this early stage. you've got to be prepared to try new things. you tend to get what you've always gotten.
” When your conscious mind says this to your subconscious. Take a notepad and physically stand in front of your pantry. buy it. Step 7 – Be Humble. “I can make a better choice that will become my NEW favorite. or items that could be replaced with lower-cost selections. I’ve always been able to afford it. Step 8 – Record. Now comes the fun part. Take it slow. and enter a new instruction. Humilty is the stepstone of success. you must mentally shout out. Consider using lower-priced or healthier ingredients in your favorite recipes. Write down every item that you probably shouldn't have purchased. Even the best chefs learn something new every day. it's time to look at the positive solutions before you.' Step 11 – Baby Steps. and if you like it – keep buying it. “STOP!” Reset your mind. Too much change will cause rejection and abandonment of the whole project. I’m entitled to this and no one can stop me from buying it. your refrigerator and your freezer. “I’ve always eaten this. Find new ways of doing things that work for you and your family. When you reach for that high-priced non-essential food item. Examples: plain yogurt instead of sour cream. 20 . Step 10 – Reject. items that cost too much. There's a lot for you to learn about food. and 'do the aisle again. turn around. These are the "bad guys" that are eating a hole in your budget… Step 9 – Substitute. You may be thinking. Start experimenting with new ingredients and recipes. Were they of the best value? Did you check to see if you had coupons for the items you selected? Did you consider other brands that might have been priced lower and been just as good? If not. review the items that you picked up in that aisle. Acknowledge that you cannot remake yourself or your dietary selections overnight. your mind may think of it as a reward. tofu instead of cheese. for the NEW me. put the guilty items back on the shelf. When you have finished going down an aisle in the grocery store. cholesterol-lowering spread instead of butter.regarding your shopping habits. Be open to the idea of putting new items in your shopping cart.” Find a substitute.
You can open one at the in-store bank that most grocery stores have these days. Reward yourself for taking specific steps to lower your food costs. If you're very diligent. and put it in a bank savings account immediately.Step 12 – Rejoice. get 'cash back' equal to that amount. 21 . If you saved $20 – put a $20 bill in your piggy back for a rainy day or a splurge event later in the year.
MYTH 1: Only poor people use coupons. it doesn't matter. REALITY: Only smart people use coupons. even $100 or more in savings on groceries? By not clipping and using store coupons. Imagine your name is drawn from a hat and the prize is a brand-new $50 bill. save. Love them or hate them. yes – but not poor. Imagine that you are at a social function where door prizes are being given away. if I save $50 on my weekly groceries. and more will be given to you over time. Let's examine the top 10 myths about store coupons. People tend to have fixed opinions about grocery coupons. I know that I probably could have saved a lot more if I had shopped correctly! By the way. I feel disappointed. Respect what you have been given and treat it properly. on the basis that you already earn a salary and don't really need the $50? Would you return it and ask that it be given to a poorer person – someone who could "really use it"? Of course not! It's found cash. the richest people in the world tend to be incredibly frugal…believe it or not. The richest people in the world don't go around flashing money. When I go shopping. She's not exactly poor… Smart.Chapter 5: The Myths & Misconceptions of Store Coupons The core of any grocery savings plan is store coupons. You'd snatch up the $50 and celebrate winning a valuable prize. and – unfortunately for their budgets – most of them are wrong. save! Knowing the value of money is the first step to keeping and building even more money in the future. They are always looking for ways to save. 23 . Why then do people turn down $50 to $75. Oprah Winfrey uses coupons. They're the number one promotional device in the grocery industry and you're going to have to come to terms with them. and it's your lucky day. see if you can find your opinions among these common shibboleths. In fact. you're turning down the chance to save a ton of money. Would you turn it down. knowing how to value money is really what made them rich in the first place.
consider opening your mind up to ways that can SAVE your money so you can do more with what you've got. you're probably better off hiring someone to do your grocery shopping.000 per year. You probably deserve a break. Benjamin Franklin said it. not me. using coupons is a waste of time. and not the billing rate you would command if you were in the office. a new hot tub.MYTH 2: If you can afford to pay full price. you're very lucky.000 or $3. By this I mean the actual cash you would be generating in your spare time. If you have an easy way to 'turn on the tap' to put more money in your pocket.. so take one. let alone shopping for yourself. And now his picture is on the $100 bill. When you arrive at this conclusion. I'm talking about totally fun money… money that you can use to do anything you want. But if you're like the 99% of us who have to live on a fixed income or a regular paycheck.. here is a huge lesson that you can learn now or learn later: SAVING money is the same thing as EARNING money.. remember Jack: all work / no play… it doesn’t have a happy ending. and “oh so many” of today's ultra-successful Hummer-driving success stories make this conclusion. If your spare time is exactly the same as your work time. REALITY: If your spare time is worth more than $100 per hour. "A penny saved is a penny earned". and you really do work every moment of every day. money to blow on a super vacation.. be sure you're talking about your SPARE time. Would you give less than an hour of your time each week to get it? Would you actually stoop to getting out a pair of scissors and clipping coupons to get it? If not. a monster home entertainment system …whatever you consider TOTALLY FRIVOLOUS and TOTALLY DESIRABLE.! 24 . let alone using coupons. just imagine for a moment what you and your family could do with an extra $2. why not just go back to the office for another hour each week? Would that be easier? Folks. Even if you’re making tons and tons of money during your work time.
you'll have more money left in your checking account at the end of the day. Picture it this way: saving on your groceries can be a valid way to help you pay off your debt faster. If you write smaller checks to your grocery store. and it really does stay in your bank account. “Vinnie” the shylock won’t be driving by to break your knee caps. many of them are for new items that you may not want or need. “Vincent” from the bank will simply break your credit score until you cough up the “vig” – 21%+ interest on the balance due. it's a nice feeling! MYTH 4: Grocery coupons are just a come-on to get you to buy overpriced items or "weird" items you really don't need. no” you might say. along with the other techniques described in this book. tell me this: do you have any credit card debt? If you owe ANY creditor ANY amount of cash. REALITY: Grocery coupons are issued for hundreds of everyday items – things you already buy for your family. If you truly feel you do not need to save on groceries. It's not rocket science. It means that instead of writing a check for $150 for groceries. you write a check for $75. you're written in that creditor's shylock book. That is a fact. You'll have more money set aside at the end of the month and that can go towards your debt. great. Yes. Same criminals / same effect: the situation has just been prettied-up to make you feel better about it. even if you use coupons. That's real money. Trust me. MYTH 3: You end up paying about the same. one that will take an immense amount of financial change to dig your way out of. If you use coupons effectively. You're still on a pay-as-you-go plan. you will end up paying less in hard cash at the grocery checkout. Some are also for 25 .” Okay. “I don’t deal with a shylock or a gangster. REALITY: Effective couponers can literally cut their food cost in half without even trying. Instead. my credit card is with one of America’s premier banking institutions. View it however you like.Here's another way to look at wealth and financial status. “Oh.
when you're jetting across the Atlantic with a glass of Chardonnay in your hand.. and don't use coupons. don't buy it! There are hundreds of other coupons available for items your family really does want. need and use every day. But I don't know of a single family who would turn down a free weekend in the Bahamas or at Disney World. Maybe not today but certainly later in life. But weak money management can seriously cramp your style. Use the coupons you need and don't use the ones you don't. Smart money management never goes out of style. or you simply don't want the nicer things in life.. You've been buying your favorites your whole life. Small debt that you start to rack up today will 26 . if you don't regularly treat yourself and your family to items like these.. MYTH 5: People will think I'm destitute if I use coupons. will you care what those nay-sayers think? I didn’t think so. You shouldn't use coupons as an excuse to buy things you don't need. You'd be ignoring the other principles we discuss in this book about planning your shopping list before you head out the door and really thinking about what your family wants and needs. or a free trip to Paris including hotel and airfare. Would you turn these things down if they were offered to you? I didn’t think so. Just remember this: all grocery products were new at some point in time. don't need it. the techniques described in this book provide a real opportunity for you to start doing so. Pennies that you save today will compound into dollars over time. or don't like it.products that are overpriced. you probably don't need to use coupons. Then. REALITY: If you truly are independently wealthy.. Maybe you'll find some new favorites if you just try them one time. picture the people who make you feel destitute in the grocery store: are they on the plane with you? When you're headed to Paris to spend the money you've saved. you're right: maintain your affluent / happy / free-wheeling image. However. If you can already afford these things every year without putting a dent in your budget. I don't know of a single person who would say "no" to getting a free new wardrobe every year. But guess what? If you don't want it.
Manufacturers issue coupons according to a well-structured plan to build market share in specific parts of the country. If they didn't want consumers to buy their products. If you're crying for the Fortune 500-listed grocery manufacturers.compound into larger debt over time. The food manufacturer would jump for joy if they saw you. MYTH 6: It's unethical to use coupons if I can afford to pay full price. you really do have too much time or money on your hands… MYTH 7: Grocers do not want affluent shoppers to use coupons. so this increases jobs for the people at the factory. Coupons help spur the economy. the higher the coupon redemption rate. etc. Couponing is the #1 PROMOTIONAL TOOL available to the grocery industry. THIS IS WHY THEY PAY TO PRINT THE 27 . super-premium items. Saving dollars early in life will lead to a much more robust lifestyle in your future. The grocery manufacturers want MARKET SHARE. They must replenish the sold product. and that can be very hard to overcome. Let the mockers laugh: you’re building for your future. using their coupon to buy their product. regardless of who redeems them. Who is most likely to become a repeat buyer of higher-priced items? That's right: affluent households. enjoy the products. higher-priced items. and increases sales for the farmers and food producers. not theirs. an affluent shopper. The moral of this story: saving pennies leads to saving dollars. Eva Peron insisted that Argentina should not cry for her (despite being an enormously popular public figure and despite dying young… see the movie "Evita" for details). and become repeat customers. They want people to try their products. In fact. the more products they sell. REALITY: Grocery manufacturers WANT you to use their coupons. they wouldn't issue the coupons. They don't pay tens of thousands of dollars to distribute them in the hope that nobody will use them. REALITY: Who spends the most at grocery stores? It's the affluent households who can afford the more 'frivolous' products: pre-mixed items.
etc. new combinations. They want you in their store and they want you to fill your cart with the best items in their store They're not worried about processing a few coupons if it keeps you coming back. and it works: my kids ask me to buy specific brand names of items that they enjoyed the first time I bought them (brands they wouldn't even know about if I hadn't made the initial purchase using a store coupon. And when you go to buy the product again. By printing coupons that offer you a large discount on the product. they want to overcome any price resistance and the natural tendency to avoid trying something unfamiliar. and it works for your family: you get cheap or FREE stuff initially. they're actually very smart. and on and on for years. packaging. They're attempting to BUY your loyalty… 28 . So guess what: once you try the product. new flavors. because they believe that consumers will like them. it works for the store manager who makes his or her money whether you use the coupon or not. and you get to try the best new and improved products that the industry has to offer. They develop new lines of products. So the hope is that you will become a loyal purchaser and you will pay full-price for the item – this time. let's look at this situation from the food manufacturer's perspective.. REALITY: Again. No company would incur the massive expense of testing.) Couponing works for everyone – it works for the manufacturer who sells more products. They're not putting coupons out there to be charitable. the next time. MYTH 8: It doesn't make sense to buy products that I don't normally buy. chances are high that you and/or your family will LOVE IT. They are DESPERATE to have you buy a box of their latest creation and let your family try it. you won't have a coupon – but you WILL have the request from your family to ‘get more’ of the product. The people employed by the leading food manufacturers are not stupid.COUPONS IN THE FIRST PLACE! Grocers make money every time a shopper selects their store over the competition. This is the manufacturer's goal. and distributing a product if they didn't believe the buying public would like it.
You’ll feel better about it. Why would someone like ME need to use grocery coupons? REALITY: Few people are doing as well as they could be. including your home mortgage? Couponing could save you $5.000 per year. Do you have the very latest clothing. Save your pennies. Case closed. home furnishings. 4. Imagine what your loan balances would look like if you paid down $5. 2. Do you honestly have more money than you need? If so. Just about everyone could benefit from saving money. If you don't mind paying hundreds of dollars in interest each year.000 per year. If you honestly couldn't pay cash on the barrel today. REALITY: If you do it right. if you have some other method to earn $1.? If not. and save some for your own use.000. nickels. why don't you run out today and pay cash for everything you've ever want? If you could. you're right: you don't need to save money. electronics. Or. Do you currently owe a balance on a credit cards? If you answered YES. couponing will only add one or two hours to your shopping time per week and it can easily save you $50 per week on groceries Plus. (Yogi Berra should have said that…) MYTH 10: Couponing is hard to do. it can be fun.000 or more per year in your spare time – without working – and it's something that 29 . If you are independently wealthy. $2. give some to charity. you've just lost your vote. and a real waste of time. dimes and dollars now! Because if you spend like there's no tomorrow – there might not BE a tomorrow. 3. and couponing is a step in the right direction. Examples: 1. cars.MYTH 9: I make a good living. couponing is not for you. you need to save more money. Do you owe ANY money on ANY loan. At least not the same tomorrow as today. you're right – you don't need to use coupons but you also need to have your head examined (!). or simply don't care about money. etc.
If you have an easy way to 'turn on the tap' to put more money in your pocket. And for you. couponing takes a little effort. If your spare time truly is worth more than $50 per hour. you need to GET OUT OF DEBT as quickly as you can. Maybe you'll find some new favorites if you just try them one time? BIG IDEA 16: Smart money management never goes out of style. because that is what made them rich. you should pursue it. consider hiring a neighborhood kid to clip your coupons for $10 per hour. and use the money to pay off your debt quicker. it's less work for them than clipping your lawn. Conversely. this is simple math – but sometimes the obvious doesn’t hit home until you think about it. BIG IDEA 14: Write smaller checks to your grocery store. But weak money management can seriously cramp your style. Pennies that you save today will compound into dollars over time. Yes.you enjoy . Yes. open your mind to ways that you can SAVE money and do more with what you've got. Maybe not today – but later in the month or later in the year – and certainly later in life.. you're very lucky. BIG IDEA 15: All grocery products were new at some point in time. and you'll have more money left in your checking account at the end of the day. If you're like the 99% of us who have to live on a fixed income or a regular paycheck.. small debt that you start to rack up today will compound into 30 . You've been buying your favorites your whole life. Save money on groceries. it's the chance to make $40 an hour without lifting a finger…or even a pair of scissors… Big Idea Recap – Chapter 5 BIG IDEA 11: The richest people in the world still do many things the way they did early in their life. BIG IDEA 13: If you have credit card balances or any amount of consumer debt. But the ends justify the means. BIG IDEA 12: Saving money is the same thing as EARNING money.
consider hiring a neighborhood kid to clip your coupons for $10 per hour. You might even say – perish the thought – that they're attempting to BUY your loyalty… BIG IDEA 20: Later in life.. in fact. They're not putting coupons out there to be charitable. They're not worried about accepting a few coupons if it keeps you coming back. it's less work for him or her than clipping your lawn. you'll feel better. 31 . you probably won’t make the same income that you make today. and they want you to fill your cart as high as it will go. and so will they. BIG IDEA 19: The people employed by the leading food manufacturers are not stupid. very smart. They want you in their store. and that can be very hard to overcome. They don’t worry about overcharging you. they're issuing them to gain market share and win your loyalty.larger debt over time. and they’re already rich! BIG IDEA 18: Grocers make money every time a shopper selects their store over the competition. BIG IDEA 17: Don’t worry about taking money out of the pockets of the major food manufacturing companies. it's like making $40 an hour without lifting a finger. Or a pair of scissors… BIG IDEA 22: Be charitable to yourself by using coupons and selecting brands that are on sale. BIG IDEA 21: If your time truly is worth more than $50 per hour. Save money NOW while you’ve still got it – and you’ll have a lot more money later in life when you’ll need it more. And for you. with the best items in their store. give it to a real charity. they're actually very. If you really don't need to save money..
TACTICS. Learn them. regulations and insider tips you'll need to know before you hit the grocery store. If not. Players train and exercise for months before they play the first game of the season. BASIC COUPONING STRATEGY Here are the 10 "sacred rules" of couponing. 2. there are two parts to any battle plan: a. i. STRATEGY.e. Think of the actual process of grocery shopping as being like a football game. you WILL save money. Also find out if the store limits the number of coupons you can redeem in one visit. up to 99¢. The secret to tackling any major goal is to PLAN YOUR WORK. The "grocery game" is a lot like a football game: If you PLAN to save money and are PREPARED to save money before you hit the aisles of your grocery store.Chapter 6: Strategy and Tactics: How To Win the War for Your Wallet As any military strategist will tell you. 20 coupon maximum per visit). NEVER try to use an expired coupon. This is the actual implementation of the plan. b. DOUBLING: Find out if the grocery store offers DOUBLE COUPON redemption. etc. This is the creation of a PLAN. 1. Let's look at the STRATEGY behind couponing. (e. They are in excellent physical condition and are well-versed on their team's playbook long before the first ball is hiked. Generals always plan before they implement an attack on the battlefield. up to 50¢. and the many rules. 33 . Live them. leave immediately and find a store that does. then WORK YOUR PLAN. The battle to save money at the grocery store begins long before you set foot in the store. up to 60¢. DOUBLING LIMITS: Find out the maximum coupon value for doubling. 3.g. EXPIRATION: Check expiration dates religiously before you shop.
You will enjoy a double discount that gives you the item for a very low cost. CONTAINER SIZE / FLAVOR REQUIREMENTS: Is the coupon redeemable for all sizes.) 6. or must you buy 2?) 5. BOGO POLICY: Find out the store's policy on BOGO (Buy One / Get One Free) specials. flavors and variations of the product. or is there a specific choice requirement defined on the coupon? 9. HYPER VALUES. even low-value coupons. (can you buy only 1. BRAND REQUIREMENTS. The scanners in most grocery stores identify each coupon by linking the barcode on your coupon to a database of valid coupons in circulation. If your coupon is expired. buy milk & cookies to get X¢ off on the cookies? 10. QUANTITY REQUIREMENTS: Does the coupon require you to buy 2 or more of the item to get the discount? 8. if you knowingly attempt to redeem an expired coupon you are committing attempted fraud. especially to the grocer who accepts them. Many check out clerks check the expiration date before they scan the coupon. Plus. They have real value. CLIP EVERYTHING. (HINT: The highest-value coupon may not provide the best overall value. the scanner will catch it instantly. e. Most coupons are brand specific. or even FREE in some cases! Let’s review each of these 10 strategy items in detail. EXPIRATION Food companies issue coupons to boost seasonal sales of their products.g.4. Almost every coupon you clip will have an expiration date. 7. Look for items that are on sale that you have a coupon for. NEVER try to redeem a coupon for a brand other than the one shown on the coupon. MATCHING REQUIREMENTS: Is a matching purchase needed to redeem the coupon. Coupons are negotiable documents. Take a minute to scan through ALL of your coupons before 34 . Clip and keep ALL coupons for products you may want.
If they accept a coupon that is expired.) As I stated above. they are anticipating a 'bell curve' in their response. At some point near the middle of the promotion. From that point on. they have no chance of getting credit for it. So when they issue a coupon on January 1st with an expiration date of March 31st. Over the next few weeks..) The expiration date can actually work in your favor. the food companies use coupons to boost seasonal sales of their products.you go shopping so you can stay on the right side of the law… and your store manager. they start to appear in stores. more and more consumers redeem the coupons. So you are really attempting to steal from the store. It looks something like this: The day the coupons are distributed. the volume of coupons redeemed hits a peak. so there's another reason to be aware of coupons that are almost at their expiration date (but not beyond it. the total number starts to decline and eventually trails off. and your store manager may choose to call you out on it. Do it once too often. (It’s unlikely that anyone has ever served jail time for attempting to redeem an expired grocery coupon. But just bear in mind that the store is simply the brokering agent for the coupon. so the total number of coupons redeemed goes up. 35 ..
and may do something to boost sales until the next coupons are distributed. and a limit of 20 coupons per visit – or no limit at all. and they may set a limit of 10 coupons per visit. you MUST shop there to get the most for your money – regardless of your store preference. When you see a store offering tripling of coupon values. you would see that very few coupons are redeemed in the last week of the promotion – between March 24th & March 31st. In areas of EXTREME competition where the grocery chains are fighting for market share. The retailers know that only a small percentage of shoppers will actually take advantage of this offer – and those shoppers that do use coupons will often have just one or two that they found in their morning paper. If you were a product manager at the food company. In areas with only marginal competition. avoid these coupons if you are not willing to settle for the face discount value. Find out if your store doubles "DO NOT DOUBLE" coupons. you may find TRIPLING of coupons from time to time. It's almost mandatory when there are multiple grocers in your area competing for your business. This is when many products are put on special. See the 'BOGO' section later in this book to find out how this works. it's common to see doubling limits increased to 99¢ in value. Some important rules to know about doubling: 1. VERY FEW PEOPLE USE COUPONS and this can be to your advantage. you would be concerned about declining sales at this point.If you charted out the total number of coupons redeemed from January 1st through March 31st. or offered as a 'BOGO'. In areas with high competition. especially senior citizens and families with children. a grocer may limit doubling to coupons up to 30¢ or 35¢ in value. 36 . Some manufacturers are printing the words "DO NOT DOUBLE" in the margins of the coupon. Your store may or may not choose to double the coupon – and unless you know their policy for certain. DOUBLING Coupon doubling is a popular technique used by grocery stores to attract shoppers.
Again. Two factors have contributed to your savings here: a. The most common level you will find is 50¢. The price savings on Brand B seems very small but can often make a huge net difference in your total grocery bill. BEFORE you shop there. When you view the face value of your store coupons. you will very likely be disappointed at the check out counter. A lesser-value coupon that is doubled can be worth more than a larger coupon that is NOT doubled.19 As you can see. You can eventually achieve a lower net-cost per unit by selecting a brand for which you have a lower-value coupon.00 $. Doubling value of the coupon. Determine the net redemption value of your coupon before you get to the checkout counter.59 (coupon not doubled) $1. you should get in the habit of determining their actual redemption value in the store you are shopping in. the coupon net value difference here seems negligible – only 10¢ net difference. the net savings effect is multiplied. Here is an example: Brand Name Store Price Coupon Value Net Cost To You After Coupon Doubling Brand A Spaghetti Sauce Brand B Spaghetti Sauce $2. although some stores go as low as 35¢ and some go as high as 99¢. This will take a little practice. IF the store has the item on sale. DOUBLING LIMITS Every grocery store sets its own limits on the high value of coupon doubling. Store sale.55 $1. which could net out a greater discount for you. You may want to use a lower-value coupon.2. you will save 40¢ by choosing Brand B – EVEN THOUGH your coupon had about half the face value of the coupon for Brand A. You must know the doubling limit of the store you are shopping in.29 on sale $1. It’s true. If you don't. More about this later. but it will pay off big 37 . b.59 $2. Check the prices for ALL brands for which you have coupons. But combined with the sale price.
BOGO POLICY Remember those old 'alien from outer space' movies where the jet pilot reported a "Bogie at 10:00?" You need to be on similar high alert in the grocery store: "BOGO in aisle 10!" What is a BOGO? It's a "Buy One / Get One" deal.10 60¢ 75¢ As you can see. the greater the net discount. OVERSTOCK. 2. The items must sell before the expiration date or be discarded at a 100% loss to the store when the expiration date is reached. Coupon Face Value Redemption Value After Doubling 25¢ 35¢ 55¢ 60¢ 75¢ 50¢ 70¢ $1. Here are some examples on how you should train your mind to think of coupons of different valuations. It may be cheaper to clear the item out at half the price. the cost of storing the excess items may be excessive. They may have ordered too many of a given item and they simply do not have room to store them. This is why knowing the doubling limit of your grocery store is so important.time in terms of savings. Perhaps the items did not sell as quickly as the store manager had anticipated and the inventory is approaching its expiration date. This example is for a store that has set a 55¢ maximum value on coupon doubling. Smaller-value coupons can often lead to larger savings at the grocery store. you get the second item for FREE when you buy one at the regular price. Alternatively. the highest value coupon does NOT always result in the greatest discount. 38 . Sometimes. EXPIRATION DATE. the lower the coupon value. Why do stores offer BOGOs? 1.
You cannot be timid when it comes to knowing the store's policy on BOGOs. If you honestly don't need two of an item. or you cannot use two containers before the expiration date.) A store may offer a quick two or three day BOGO promotion to clear out stockpiled inventory. and in many stores it is NEVER the case. they can buy just one and pay half the price. By advertising a number of BOGO deals. do not pass up the BOGO deal. or whether you can buy just one at half the price. LOSS LEADER. if the BOGO is for a non-perishable item that you could use in the future. Be bold: walk up to the customer service counter and ask the manager whether you MUST buy 2 of the item. and they'll be glad to get it.3. Grocery stores will blast their BOGO deals in big type on the front page of their flyers. 4. buy two and put the extra item in your pantry or freezer. They will NOT advertise their actual BOGO redemption policy. the manufacturer's representative may give the store free merchandise to give away under a BOGO deal. However. This is not always the case. This is the ideal time to use your store coupon. someone can use the second item. If you were going to buy the item anyway. To build market share for a specific product in a specific store. It is your right to know. MANUFACTURER PROMOTION. it makes no sense to buy the extra (second) item. Many shoppers will assume that if an item is on BOGO special. Many times they are store-specific. Shoppers may visit one time to get the BOGO deals. (although they are often chain-wide promotions offered by the leading grocers. and the manager is hoping they enjoy the shopping experience and the values enough to switch stores permanently. The store may be in an intense market share fight with a competitor. and it can make a big difference in your checkout total. Here's an example to help you understand why: 39 . You could also consider donating it to Second Harvest or your local food bank. Why? Because they have nothing to gain by doing so. BOGO promotions are quick for a retailer to implement. they can often entice shoppers to change their store of preference.
they consume so little that the second box would become stale before they use it.PRODUCT: COUPON VALUE: BOGO SALE PRICE: NET COST TO YOU: Gummy Gunk Cereal. rather than buy one at full price and take a second box free.50. Seniors who live alone often do not need two boxes of a product. Box. 50¢ off on one box purchase. Store doubles the coupon value to $1. And 40 .75. $2. Buy one at $3. 21 oz. To keep senior customers happy.00.25 each. OFF ONE” POLICY: NET COST TO YOU: $0. regular price $3. $1.50 for two boxes of cereal. 21 oz.75 off normal retail on one box of cereal. CHECK WITH YOUR STORE BEFORE YOU BUY! If your store allows half off purchasing of one item in a BOGO deal. many stores will allow you to buy one box at half price. look how much you could save in this same example: PRODUCT: COUPON VALUE: Gummy Gunk Cereal.50. BOGO SALE PRICE AT STORE WITH “1/2 Buy one at $1. get one free.00.25 per box of cereal. Box. You have now saved $2. 50¢ off on one box purchase. Store doubles the coupon value to $1. for a grand total savings of $4.50.75 for one box of cereal. regular price $3.50 – more than 54% OFF RETAIL! SUPER SECRET: Some stores have altered their BOGO policy to meet the needs of senior citizens. You have now saved $2. a savings of over 73% OFF RETAIL! CLIP EVERYTHING Let's cut to the chase: there is no need to clip coupons for 'Super Sugar Shack' cereal if you're a senior and don't have grandkids.
it's the thrill of the hunt. some cereal companies will issue coupons good for two or more boxes of any brand of cereal they make. Plus. BRAND REQUIREMENTS When a coupon says it is good for Brand A Peanut Butter. A good way to tell is to look at the photo on the coupon. After all. and they deserve the sale it generates. But as you can see in our example. which will typically show each brand they manufacture. Be doubly careful about checking 41 . and not clip it.00 Many people will pass over a 30¢ coupon as trivial.29 50¢ $1.there is no need to clip a coupon for denture cream if you're twentyfive and have a full set of pearly whites. the Brand A marketing people spent big bucks to get that coupon into distribution. and you'll especially like them if you get them for FREE or close to free.69 $1. Here's an example: Item Hot Sauce Crackers Ketchup Original Price $1. What I mean by 'Clip Everything' is do not avoid coupons for brands you haven't tried. it results in what you will come to know as 'Coupon Nirvana'. it is a thrill you will enjoy every week. For example. OR. it means that it is ONLY good for Brand A Peanut Butter. No legitimate grocer would accept a coupon for a brand other than the one shown. And the 'nickel and dime' coupons that you might think worthless can really add up in certain situations. you can look at the logos on the box to verify that it's one of their brands. not Brand B or Brand C. or coupons that at first glance seem worthless. systematic couponing. a feeling of euphoria and power. It's not the free merchandise that is the reward. Where this gets tricky is when the coupon is for a 'family' of products. it can lead to getting a product totally FREE.29 79¢ Sale Price 99¢ 59¢ Coupon Value 25¢ 30¢ Doubled Value 60¢ 50¢ Net Cost To You FREE 29¢ 49¢ % Savings Off Original Price 100% 82% 63% $1. You might like the brands you haven't tried. And that's just about the best possible way to stretch your grocery budget. over and over again. If you follow my techniques for regular.
or simply an honest mistake on the part of a sleepy stock clerk? You be the judge… but the price of the sale bacon was $4. Another thing to watch is that you select the BRAND VARIATION a given coupon is valid for. You should always double-check the flavor or brand variation.that you receive your discount on these types of coupons.00 extra for the same amount of meat. This is especially true with brands that have extensive product lines such as 'healthy' or 'diet' foods. "Grilled Specialties" and "Bowls". I had an experience recently where the store's print ad said that a particular brand of bacon was on BOGO sale. WRONGO-PONGO! The ad stated that the "Natural Choice" version was on sale. If you see a wall full of products with the same brand logo. and the price of the NON-sale bacon was $5. and they may have five or even ten line extensions in the same food category. you'd pay about $7. 42 . The scanner will reject the coupon if you haven't selected the exact same type shown on the coupon. If you picked up two of the non-sale variation. because they often won't scan properly. For example. There was a giant display sign in the middle of three different variations of the brand's bacon. "Singles". All four are frozen dinners. You may see the brand name on the package and think it is the product described on the coupon. The variation that was on sale wasn't even near the display sign! Was this an intentional deception on the part of the store manager. so just go ahead and pick any two and get the deal. but bad if you select the wrong variation and have to pay full price for it. but the coupon may be valid for only one of these four types of frozen dinners. but the sign was placed among the regular versions of the product. The industry calls these "line extensions". be on the alert that it's easy to select the wrong product. sign placement.99 for two (net cost $2.50 per package). one frozen dinner manufacturer offers "Duos".99 per individual package. The immediate inclination is to assume that all three of these variations were on sale. only to realize at the checkout line that the coupon is for a different implementation of the same brand. They're great for finicky eaters. SIGNS LIE. Another thing I'd like to point out about Brand Requirements is that you can't believe your eyes when it comes to signs. Bringing home the bacon gets a lot more expensive if you aren't on the alert. and sign wording.
I've had sales clerks state with 100% certainty. 43 . because you must buy two of them.e. don't use it until you verify that it's the current flyer. The one time that this quantity issue goes away is when the item is on BOGO (Buy One / Get One FREE). they're not so certain. but it's not on sale now. "that item was on sale last week. All you can do is to be more careful in the future." I pull out the current sales flyer and show them the item. So don't be afraid to stick to your guns. The cashier will scan two boxes of the product. So a flyer you find in the cart on a Sunday could have expired the day before. you can't return food if there was no mistake on the store's part. Check the dates first. SALES CLERKS LIE. QUANTITY REQUIREMENTS Some coupons require multiple purchases.00 on 2". and will I consume this quantity within the normal shelf life of the product? b. believe what you verify before you check out. i. and you will still enjoy the full value of the coupon discount. so you will have technically purchased two. and in fact they seem ticked that they were caught in a lie. Do I need two of this item. And once you've left the store. Factor this in when you are doing your 'net cost' calculations. "Save $1. FLYERS LIE. So don't believe what you see.And given that the sale sign was in the largest portion of the meat cooler among the largest inventory of all the brands of bacon sold in that store. These type of coupons should put up red flags in your mind: a. there is nothing you can do about it. The face value of the coupon is automatically cut in HALF. If you find a sales flyer in your shopping cart. I would tend to think that a lot of shoppers made a mistake in their selection. and the coupon will be authorized. But you will only be charged for one item. All of a sudden. especially when you know you're right. The clerks don't necessarily clean out the shopping carts every day. When an item rings up wrong.
take the coupon and the flavor you want to the Customer Service window and ask.00). box of our cereal. and paying the regular price for your milk. In other words.85 to get a 'free' half-gallon of milk ($2. You may actually come out ahead buying store brand cookies and cereal. the coupon may say "FREE half-gallon of milk". The scanner will not accept the coupon if you try to use it with a 16 oz. In most cases. You have to understand that there are over 10. There is no hard-and-fast rule about this. So if the coupon says the discount is valid on the 32 oz. be sure to read the fine print. If in doubt. bottle. You may find that there are three other flavor choices on the shelf. So you must spend $7. The fine type may include the actual offer: Free milk when you buy a 16 oz. MATCHING REQUIREMENTS If a coupon offer looks too good to be true.50) and the full retail price of their cereal ($4. package of our cookies AND an 18 oz. For example. bottle only.CONTAINER SIZE / FLAVOR REQUIREMENTS This is another area where discretion is the better part of valor. One way to get increased value through 'matching requirement coupons' is to use ANOTHER coupon for the items required. It may require a matching purchase. bottle. the store's 44 . that is the rule. and is trying to sway people away from buying the 16 oz. They will scan the product and the coupon and let you know if the coupon is valid on that specific variation of the product. and possibly a third coupon for the particular brand of cereal. It pays to do the math quickly in your head before using a matching requirement coupon. bottle. and in other cases it is valid for the one flavor only. in the example above. The manufacturer may have an interest in promoting sales of their 32 oz. The coupon may say that the discount is available on the "barbeque" flavor of sauce. because sometimes the coupon is valid for all four flavors. Bear in mind that they are counting on you to pay the full retail price of their cookies ($3.000 items in the typical grocery store. you may find that you have a different coupon for the required brand of cookies. The same rule applies to flavors.35).
In most cases. so the coupon is entered differently from the others and the store’s computer will not reject it as an attempted double redemption. You'll now be paying $4. The only way you'll find them is to read the flyer that shows up in your morning newspaper. HYPER VALUES If you use only one strategy out of these coupon value-increasing ideas. IF THERE'S NO SIGN. (Be sure to check the product name and package size requirements. So if you had a 50¢ coupon for the cookies and a 35¢ coupon for the cereal. box of cereal and NOT the 18 oz.70 in doubled value for these coupons. typically on a 45 .00 off on any 3 boxes of Brand "A" cereal. Here's how it works: Let's say that your store is overstocked with a certain brand and size of canned peaches. Another example is the 'Bonus Buys' that a store will offer. IT MUST BE ON SALE.00 for 3 boxes of cereal. It's important to note that many of the special deals available at a store are NOT advertised on the store shelf. Since the store will automatically double the coupon at check-out time. use it. box of cereal – so you could end up paying MORE for a SMALLER box if you're not careful!) If you have a coupon for $1. you are now getting the peaches for FREE.33 per box. you could get $1. or approximately $1. make sure you understand and use the strategy of 'Hyper Values'. If they are overstocked on a particular manufacturer's line of cereal – or perhaps the manufacturer's rep really needs to boost volume in your area and extends special pricing to the store – you may find that your store extends a 'Bonus Buy' across the entire product line. Instead of 99¢.50 for the milk. You never know until you try. You happen to have a coupon for this brand offering 25¢ off a single can of fruit. BONUS BUYS. It just doesn't get any better than this. the cashier must manually enter the price of the free item into the cash register. the bonus may apply to the 28 oz.computer will not consider these to be competing coupons. A typical example of this is in cereals: All Brand "A" cereals on a list will be 3 for $5. they're marked down to 50¢.00. they offer them at 50% off. plus the cashier will take off the $1.
Wednesday or Thursday. These same flyers are also available on a rack when you enter the store. What is really laughable is that literally NOBODY picks up a flyer when they enter the store. How many times have you seen somebody poring over a store flyer before they shop? Almost never. The reason? It's déclassé, and most people 'just don't have time for that'. Again, if your time is more valuable than your money, breeze on by the stack of flyers. The 2 minutes you save by NOT reading the flyer could end up costing you $10, $20 or more. (But hey, it's only money).
Big Idea Recap – Chapter 6
BIG IDEA 23: The greatest savings in the “grocery game” are achieved when you PLAN in advance to save money and are PREPARED to save money before you ever hit the aisles of your grocery store. BIG IDEA 24: The closer to the coupon expiration date, the greater the chances that an additional promotion on the product has already started. It means that you can save even more on the same product. BIG IDEA 25: The food manufacturers know that many people will NEVER clip a coupon. For every person who REDEEMS a coupon, 10 others will READ the coupons and associate those brands with value. In other words, coupons are used to build impressions in your mind that certain products offer excellent quality AND value – regardless of whether they actually do or not. Unless you actually clip and redeem the coupon, you won’t receive that extra value. BIG IDEA 26: Watch for 'tripling' events. This is when a store offers triple the face value of the coupon. Some stores limit this promotion to 50¢, but others will triple up to 99¢ – so many of your items will be totally free after the discount. BIG IDEA 27: Sometimes, the lower the coupon value, the greater the net discount. (WHAT? Did I read that right, or is it a typographical error?) No, you did not read it incorrectly. Smaller-value coupons can often lead to larger savings at the grocery store.
BIG IDEA 28: Take advantage of BOGO deals on non-perishable items, even when you don't have an immediate need for the item. Canned goods or cleaning supplies will keep just fine for a year or two on the shelf – and you won't have to pay full-price the next time you need the item. BIG IDEA 29: If your grocer allows you to buy only one item at half-price under a 'BOGO' deal AND you are using a coupon on the purchase, your net savings amount for the one item will be much higher that if you purchased two units of the same item. BIG IDEA 30: Clip every coupon that is for a product that some member of your household could use, even if you've never tried the brand before. You might find a super-special on the item, and you might end up liking it more than your current brand. BIG IDEA 31: Check, double-check, even triple-check to make sure that the brand variation shown on your coupon is the same as the item you put into your shopping cart. If it's wrong, you will probably end up paying full price for the item. BIG IDEA 32: Don't make assumptions when selecting items that are on sale. Pick up a sales flyer when you first enter the store, and compare the wording & photo of the sale item to the item in your shopping cart; if it doesn't match exactly, investigate until you are certain that you have the correct sale item. Don't trust signs or sales flyers until you verify that the dates and brand variations shown are correct. BIG IDEA 33: Be wary of "save on 2" or "save on 3" coupons. You have to buy so many of the item, it can negate the net value of the coupon. BIG IDEA 34: If a coupon shows a photo of a particular flavor, don't assume it's valid for all flavors unless this is specifically stated on the coupon. BIG IDEA 35: If the purchase of 2 or 3 different items is required to get a free item, you may be able to use additional coupons to lower the cost of the 2 or 3 items individually. BIG IDEA 36: You can get certain items for FREE is you have a coupon
for sale items and your store doubles the value of your coupon. Read the ads, match your coupons to the ads, and do the math. It's that easy. BIG IDEA 37: Sometimes buying the bigger box costs less than buying the smaller box. BIG IDEA 38: The store is not required to call your attention to the items that are on sale. To get the best values you have to take note of the items that are featured in the store’s sales flyer, find those items, verify that you have selected the EXACT size / brand / variation that is on sale, and purchase those items. The sale items won’t jump into your cart by themselves (but if you’re not careful, similar products that you THINK are on sale but are actually NOT on sale, will be the ones that end up in your cart...)
Chapter 7: Couponing Tactics: The Simplest Way to Organize Coupons
There are many different gadgets and custom wallets on the market to help you organize your coupons. Some cost only a few dollars, others cost $15, $20 or more. YOU DON'T NEED THEM! There's a method I use that is basically free, uncomplicated, and flexible. It's simple, it's easy to remember, and once you get the hang of it, it will make finding your coupons a breeze. Use 8 ordinary white envelopes. If you're super-cheap, you can even re-use bank envelopes, payroll envelopes, or business reply envelopes from your junk mail, (now that's REALLY cheap.) When the envelopes wear out, simply replace them. I keep mine bundled with a rubber band, and I store them in the glove box of my car. That way, I always know where they are. Also they're easy to stick in a pocket when I head into the store. The 8 envelopes are categories of products and stores. Write the category and item listings on each of your envelopes, as follows: BAKED GOODS Bread / Baking Supplies Refrigerated Dinner Rolls / Biscuits Cereal Cookies / Crackers Chips / Candy / Nuts / Popcorn / Snacks CANNED GOODS & BEVERAGES Vegetables Salad Soup Fruit Juices / Soda Coffee MEAT & FROZEN Lunchmeats
00 off any $30 Order) Restaurant / Retail Store Coupons Specific-Store Coupons. I'm 50 . $5. it's important that you dedicate yourself to saving money.- Bacon / Sausage / Fresh Meats Any Frozen Product (except Ice Cream) CONDIMENTS & SIDE DISHES Pasta / Sauces Boxed Meal Mixes Rice / Grains Salad Dressing Peanut Butter / Jelly Spices / Salt / Sugar Cooking Oil DAIRY Milk / Cheese / Sour Cream Eggs Ice Cream / Toppings Pudding / Dips CLEANING SUPPLIES Household Cleaning Products Paper Products Dog / Cat Food PERSONAL PRODUCTS Personal Hygiene Items / Soaps / Deodorant Medicine RESTAURANT & STORE DISCOUNTS Store Discount Coupons (i. Yes. You should simply spend the extra $30. i. the system won't work. $40. Drug Store Coupons HOW TO ORGANIZE YOUR COUPONS First off. $50 or more and use your 15 minutes for more productive things – like watching TV.e. reading a magazine or talking on the phone. If you can't set aside 15 minutes per week to deal with your coupons.e.
it can be embarrassing. When it's time to do my sorting. but the truth of the matter is that saving money takes time and dedication. When you have the time. go through the coupon sections and cut out any coupon you might consider using. in a specific order: Left row top to bottom: Meats. Keep all coupons in one place until they are sorted. – SORT ALL AT ONCE. I keep my coupon envelopes held together with a rubber band. If it's something you wouldn't even consider using. NEVER try to use an out-of-date coupon. and. I find that it helps to set a specific time. or a sport – you have to do the same things like clockwork for an extended period of time before you will ever see any results. Canned Goods. obviously don't clip that coupon. it can actually be illegal. You have to have an almost religious zeal for following the system (or whatever system you prefer) and stick to it. go through your envelopes and remove all expired coupons. Before going on a shopping trip (or at least once every few weeks). as follows: – CENTRAL LOCATION. It's like anything else – a diet. I open the envelopes one by one and pull out any expired coupons. – CLIP ALL AT ONCE. Cleaning Supplies I put the final two envelopes to the side. clip the coupon: it may end up free to you if you play your coupons right… – REVIEW EXPIRATION DATES. Side Dishes Right row top to bottom: Breads. Then. place and routine for organizing and maintaining your coupons.being sarcastic. and simply put the Sunday coupon sections in there until I have time to go through them. I use a small wicker basket. It's bad form. Dairy. because you really don’t tend to get as many coupons in the Personal Products and Restaurant 51 . if you do it knowingly. But if it's something that you'd consider trying if it was free. It's important that you do not reject coupons by brand name or familiarity at this point. a hobby. I lay the envelopes out on the table in 2 rows.
meats. follow each step to its completion in a quick and determined manner. bread & cereal is always top right. etc. I put the new coupons in the envelopes. but not always practical if you've got a family and have to stock up on a wide range of items every time you shop. and do it all at once.e. This will make short work out of organizing your coupons. if you buy fresh meats and you put them in your cart first. they could be out of refrigeration for 45. Health experts will tell you to shop the perimeter of a grocery store first. Of course.& Store Discount categories. and easier to stick to. sticking to your PLAN will help you ROUTINELY save money. I leave plenty of room between the envelopes. and will make it more relaxing and stress-free. Then. It's a good thought. when I'm done. baked goods. 60. If you make a ROUTINE out of PLANNING to save money. Most of your coupons will be in the “big six”. The benefit of following a routine is that you end up sorting without having to think about it. Do it the same way each week. Of course. and avoid the processed foods on the inner aisles. For example. If you follow the expert's advice. bundle the envelopes back up with my rubber band. you'll have a lot of perishable items in your cart that will melt or lose freshness while you are browsing the inner aisles of the grocery store. anything you can do to save time with your system will make it easier to follow. and you could be keeping them out of refrigeration for a dangerous amount of time. this doesn't 52 . lunch meat / frozen foods always go to the top left. etc.. If you do this. i. Remember. and throw away my pile of expired coupons. you'll load up on fresh fruits & vegetables. even 90 minutes. it’s just mentally easier. Add in your drive time home. so I tend to focus on those most of all. you can develop your own routine. The most important thing is that you need an establish a fixed routine. SHOPPING TIME: organize your shopping trip to save time and keep food fresh. and simply stack my new coupons immediately below each of the envelopes.
right? WRONG! In this case. i. and that's the place to start shopping first. meat and frozen foods for last. and Brand B's coupon gives you 50¢ off.apply to produce.49 – fully ONE HALF THE NET COST OF THE BRAND A ITEM!!! Over time. making Brand B a better value choice right from the start. THE SYSTEM There are four simple steps when using store coupons: 1. MATCH.99. Let's say that Brand A's normal price is $3. SCAN all products in the category to see what's on sale today. $1.00 off coupon. Let's say the Brand B coupon is for 50¢ off. As an even better value proposition.49. 2. 3. Let's review why each of these steps is critical to your couponing success. REVIEW all coupons that you have for the category to see if you have coupons for the items that are on sale. When you have a match of coupon and sale item put the item in your cart. Immediately put the coupon in your designated coupon pocket or other storage place. you'll get a good value by buying Brand A. you will find that 53 . There is literally nothing you can buy in the store that is better for your family's health than fresh fruit and vegetables. SCAN. With your dollar off. Plus. and they'll arrive home in much better condition. so the Brand A coupon offers you better savings. you'll pay $2. POCKET. But 'Brand B' may be on sale for $2. because Brand B is on sale for $2.00 off on an item we'll call 'Brand A'. dairy products. And chances are.99. you may be tempted to search out that exact item and buy it. consider that you may have a coupon for the Brand B item.00 off.e. 4.49. so when you buy this brand you'll pay less without using a coupon. your net cost of buying it will be $1. Many people would simply look at the two coupons side by side: Brand A's coupon gives you $1. the 50¢ Brand B coupon will be doubled in value at the checkout counter. But you may not be enjoying the BEST value. When you have an appealing coupon. It takes a little discipline. but your family will eat healthier if you focus your shopping in this section. so it's EQUAL in value to Brand A's $1. Save the bread.
because that is the only way they can get maximum efficiency and return on investment on their plants. They gear up to keep their factories running 24/7. Buy two cans of an identical item. and serve them up in identical dishes. not all generics offer the same quality as the top-shelf brands. But when they're cooked and on your table. because these manufacturers put a lot of effort into their packaging. do you really think your family will not eat the generic peas? Unless they see the cans. You may notice that the higher-priced brands look better. one of the high-priced brand and one of the low-priced store brand. REVIEW. and the highest-price space is right at eye level. they don't shut down the production line. I can assure you. Another quick test is to compare the bottle design. So when their factory reaches their quota of producing the name-brand product. the higher-priced items will be at eye level. What did we do when we reached our quota of the name brand product for the week? Well… we switched out the paper on the labeling machine. At my local dollar store. Yes. I prefer the 'baby' peas. But here's a little secret (one I know from having worked at a pickle factory during summer break at college). They carry lots of 54 . A can of toppriced peas will look delicious and inviting. which go for about three times the cost of generic. Cook both items. and used the generic-brand labels. Manufacturers pay a 'slot fee' to buy shelf space. the results will be laughable: the value brand will be preferred in many cases. try and run a taste-test contest with your family. See if your family can correctly identify which is the high-priced brand and which is the value brand. they typically won't know the difference. You'll find that in most stores. They change the labels! If you doubt this. they have a great food products section. Yes. They grab the first thing they see that looks appealing. And frankly. folks – it's a little-told secret of the food processing industry.SCANNING the entire product category before making a selection will be your #1 key to saving. The plant I worked at manufactured one of the top-selling brands of pickles in the world. Most people are reactive shoppers. while a generic can of peas will look lackluster. I know.
Last but not the least. This may seem like a really dumb step. But if you try them. you might find that they’re the identical product made by the leading name-brand manufacturer. So if you're astute and willing to do a little testing. Check the brand name. most efficient food manufacturing plants produce and package the off-brand products. Their off-brand version of Worcestershire sauce is in a bottle that is shaped remarkably like the #1 brand in the world. In fact. It may not always be the same quality as the leading brands. as well as the expiration date. When you taste the sauce. it would simply be too costly for them to change recipes or ingredients to produce the 'off brands'.condiments and sauces. MATCH. You've seen above why it's important to SCAN all of the shelves for the best item and REVIEW all of your coupon and sale combination. flavor. I mean that you should give a final check of the coupon details and the product details BEFORE you put the item into your cart. By this. you may get the EXACT SAME QUALITY with a generic or storebrand product. home-style soup. kitchen select soup. for example. you need to MATCH your coupon to the item before you commit to the buy. One top brand sells regular soup. etc. chunky soup. I'm not saying that every item you pick up in a dollar store is going to be identical to the leading brand. If you forget to MATCH the specifics of the coupon offer to the EXACT LABEL on the soup can. but in some cases it is. and single-serving microwavable soup for one. POCKET the coupon. and the coupon may only be good for one category of item. size. Most of the biggest. You have to physically present ALL of your coupons at the checkout counter 55 .. it tastes just like the leading brand. but it's actually very important. some of them will be downright awful. The coupons they issue are typically good for just one of their soup categories. Some brands have four or five categories that are completely different. POCKET. Take soup. and you’ll enjoy a real deal. Now that you've chosen the best possible combination. you could find that your coupon is rejected at the checkout counter – the ultimate coupon-cutter's nightmare.
And it WILL add up over time. I crush it up and put it in my right pocket. Every minute you put into organizing your coupons will 56 . You could have taken the family to the movies with that money. BIG IDEA 40: If you can't FIND the coupons you need. on every shopping trip. but that's just a personal preference. if I find that I have an expired coupon. the store won't let you go back and turn your coupons in. especially if you have ever gotten in your car and realized that you forgot to present your coupons at the checkout counter. the easier it is to use – and the easier it is to use. If they don't make it into the hands of the checkout clerk. you will systematically save money. that's just the way I do it – and it may not be the best choice for you. Again. to be thrown away at the first trash can I encounter. You can't go back! Once your shopping transaction is completed. but now it's gone. they won't be redeemed. you can't REDEEM them. does this sound too elementary and ridiculous to you? It won't. I use my left pocket.when you are buying your groceries. Create your own system or use mine. If you do things the same way each week. and follow it like clockwork. and putting them all in one safe secure place. the more likely you are to stick with it over time. Just make sure you have a true system. During the course of my shopping trip. Big Idea Recap – Chapter 7 BIG IDEA 39: The simpler the system. So the coupons in your pocket that would have been worth $20 or $30 in actual cash savings will now be worth diddly-squat. Have you ever gotten home with your shopping bags and realized that there was an on-pack coupon that you forgot to use? Nothing is more galling than seeing a 50¢ "REDEEM ME NOW" coupon stuck to a box that you have already bought. Again. Here's another reason why you have to be diligent in PHYSICALLY TRANSFERRING THE COUPON to your "POCKET" location for redemption. So it's important to get in the habit of POCKETING all of the coupons you plan to use.
buying more EXPENSIVE foods could actually SAVE you money. you'll become more alert to spotting bargains and avoiding impulse buys. Plan out a mental "road map" of how you will routinely shop in that store. once you leave the store. BIG IDEA 47: Don't assume that a coupon is good for all sizes / flavors / variations of a particular brand item – even if it seems to be an obvious match. most efficient food manufacturing plants produce and package the off-brand products. don't let the 'bargain' price of an item make it your #1 choice. your coupons aren't worth the paper they're printed on… 57 . similarly. BIG IDEA 44: Learn the layout of your grocery store(s).be paid back to you in greater savings at the cash register. Reading the fine print can save you a bundle at the checkout counter. you may get the EXACT SAME QUALITY with a generic or store-brand product. and you'll reduce your in-store time significantly. BIG IDEA 41: Consistency is the key to effectiveness in any system. and you can actually SAVE MONEY by buying the EXPENSIVE brand! BIG IDEA 46: Most of the biggest. BIG IDEA 45: Don't let the high price of an item scare you off buying it. it's a sure way to remember to present them to the cashier before you pay. Follow that road map every time you do your big weekly shopping run. Do things the same way every time. sticking to your PLAN will help you ROUTINELY save money. you'll never maximize your full potential of reducing your food budget. BIG IDEA 42: Keep an open mind as to which products you would consider trying. BIG IDEA 43: if you make a ROUTINE out of PLANNING to save money. BIG IDEA 48: Make it a routine to keep your coupons in the EXACT SAME PLACE every time you go shopping. In other words. Remember. If you only consider buying familiar products or ones you've tried and used before.. If you are astute and willing to do a little testing. calculate the FINAL COST of the item in your head after factoring in the doubled coupon value. and you'll get better at them day after day..
Coupon Litmus Test If you are still questioning whether or not you are a "coupon person" (or could ever become one. chances are there is one somewhere in your office. it is presented here for comparison purposes only. Locate a paper shredder. Does shredding the dollar bill bother you more than shredding the coupon? Why? At most grocery stores. the 50¢ coupon would have been doubled in value at the time of redemption.* (Hey wait. Now. You may think you're not a candidate to save money. so it is IDENTICAL IN VALUE to the dollar bill.. Step 4. or you simply find the whole process distasteful. and insert the 50¢ coupon into the shredder.00 value against the total purchase price of your groceries. It's true: some people have complete and total disdain for grocery coupons.S. Do not actually implement this test. try taking the 'Currency vs. Keep this one fact in mind: the grocery store cash register doesn't care which is which: it sees both items as having a $1. that’s REAL money we’re talking about. Step 2. insert the dollar bill into the shredder. too. either because you just can't be bothered to clip coupons. Coupon Litmus Test'. *NOTE: Destruction of U. and for shock value.Chapter 8: The Currency vs. (Feels good. Turn the shredder on. Step 5. Okay. Look in your Sunday newspaper coupon section. I don’t waste REAL money.S. Step 1.!) Step 3. currency is illegal. Mint. doesn’t it?) Take a dollar bill out of your wallet or purse.) here is one sure way to settle the issue once and for all. people! 59 . and find a 50¢ coupon for a product that your family uses on a regular basis. Wake up and smell the mocha java. and one by a food manufacturer. and think they aren't worth the paper they're printed on. If you are concerned that you may just be this type of person. The only difference is that they were issued by different entities: one by the U..
you don't know what's going to be on sale at your store in three or four weeks.CLEANLINESS IS NEXT TO GODLINESS: purging your expired coupons. "don't you feel like you've wasted a lot of time when you throw away expired coupons?" There is a bit of truth in this. If this is your situation. It only takes an extra 15 minutes or so when you're adding new coupons. especially when you're throwing away a stack of 50 or 75 coupons that you painstakingly clipped a few months earlier. When you think you're getting a $3. just take an extra second to check the expiration date before you transfer the coupon to your left pocket. The coupon that you didn't clip might be the one that you wished you had later on… Big Idea Recap – Chapter 8 BIG IDEA 49: Coupons work just like currency at the cash register. I've caught myself about to make a mistake like this many times. the cashier informs you that the coupon you have presented is expired.59 for it. you're throwing away cash. The couponer's nightmare is thinking you've just scored the ultimate trifecta: BOGO deal. but sometimes you just don't have those extra 15 minutes. But think like a fisherman: you can whine about the ones that got away. store sells single item for half the price. I sometimes get in a hurry. I only purge my coupons about once every month or so. you're still getting a great deal – but it's a huge let-down because you got tripped up by the fundamentals.00 item for 29¢ and you have to pay $1. Then. Some people say. The coupon you don't clip because you "can't afford that brand" could have made that item cheaper than the store brand on your next shopping trip. or you can revel in the ones that you caught. coupon in hand. It's all just part of the process. BIG IDEA 50: Unless you're an industry insider or a psychic. If you're throwing away the coupons from your Sunday paper. THERE IS NO DIFFERENCE. 60 . and to be perfectly honest with you. And remember: there is no way for you to know which items will be on special at your grocery store in three or four weeks.
Chapter 9: Clubs. the club member's price. and typically they give you a plastic sheet with a punch-out membership card and a couple of punch out key fobs. You join the club. and the computer will instantly recognize you as a club member. Look for the special discount signs on products throughout the store. 2. They sell this information to data compilers and marketing firms. and B. What the store DOESN'T tell you (or at best. 3. They will typically show two prices: A. Why? Because you will save money immediately and instantly every time you shop. GET ANALYZED. In most stores. 4. You sign up for the program at the Customer Service counter. As any astute shopper knows. All of these items feature a barcode. You will receive the club member discount price on the featured items. SHOP. JOIN. You must join every club. the regular price. When you go to check out. Here's how these clubs work: 1. a store makes more money by selling this information than they do on the products you have purchased! Why is your information so valuable? The truth is individual family 61 . at every store you shop in – even if you only shop there once or twice per year. the only way to get the lowest prices in the grocery store is to join the store's frequent shopper club program. you present your card or your key fob to the cashier. Cards & Counterintelligence FREQUENT SHOPPER CARDS: Value. and the barcode identifies you to the store's computer every time you shop there. SCAN. minimally tells you) is that their system is collecting information on your family's purchasing habits and product preferences. The cashier will scan the barcode on the card or key fob. Often. with a price. the ONLY way you can get the 'sale' prices on the item is to be a member of their shopping club.
BUT – they will also be monitoring the demographics of the people purchasing them.000. so they make the most money off of you. But as a member of a specific demographic group. The national brands pay the highest shelf fees. they will realize that they DO NOT have to lower the price of this product below this point to maintain market share. The market will have spoken loud and clear and saved the manufacturer a ton of money in promoting that specific product.information is not extremely valuable by itself. i.99'. Let's say for example that the store features a national brand of cookies at a special rate. "Big Brother" is alive and well. They are committed to influencing you to shop this way. Here's something else that few shoppers know: consumer product manufacturers pay stores a 'slot fee' for the space on their shelves. your age is 35 to 40 and you have 3 children under the age of 10. This translates into huge sales and huge revenues for the manufacturers. If shoppers are lazy and prove that they 62 . let's say that your household income is between $75. and the grocery industry wants you to buy the smallest packages of the most expensive brands at the highest prices. For example. he's hiding in the aisles of your grocery store. That is why a national brand gets the middle shelves that are at eye level. when the normal price of a single item is $2. If they find that families with your demographic indicators participate in this pricing offer 45% more than families with lower incomes. You are a powerhouse consumer. The buying patterns of shoppers at your local grocery store often dictate the prices you will pay. your data can help identify trends and validate information that is VERY profitable to the grocery product industry. they will monitor the sales of this item by the total number of items sold. '2 for $3.19.000 and $80. They will have learned that their target audience – affluent young families with children – are perfectly happy to buy two units at a total savings of 40¢ – and there is no need to offer a lower price point or a 'Buy one / get one free' package deal. and the discount store brands get the bottom shelves. Of course.e. because they know that most consumers are lazy and will buy the first product that they see in the category they are shopping for.
As a club member. in infinite detail. PRODUCT CODE. 3. slightly more sinister. marital status. Welcome to the Maze. children's age. they are in essence telling the store manager. street address. Guess what product that code 63 . etc. "PLEASE RAISE OUR PRICES!" And guess what? The manager will gladly comply… This is all a long way of saying that discount clubs will save you money every time you shop. you have to fill out a registration form. etc. too. 2. Now. You need to join them. The real goal behind these clubs is something… well…. But the main purpose of these clubs is not to save you money. talking participant in the world's largest focus group. The computer knows what every item is. They may ask you for some demographic information such as your age. Every different size / shape / flavor has a unique code that is captured when the check-out clerk scans the package. before you get shocked or scared or decide to quit the shopper's club (a truly BAD idea). (ever notice that they ALWAYS keep the cheese in the back of the store…?) The truth of the matter is that shoppers' clubs are the ultimate tool used by the food industry to make you a walking. you can't keep any secrets from the grocery store's computer. REGISTRATION. CLUB MEMBER CODE. If you've ever thought that the aisles in your grocery store can seem like a rat maze in a testing laboratory. let's look at how this happens: 1. you're not too far off the mark. Every item in the store carries a product code. To get your discount card or key tag that entitles you to discounts at the store. You tell them your name. although they will. you can see it below the barcode on the package. That little store tag you keep on your key chain has a barcode. just about every purchase you make is being monitored. recorded and analyzed for future use by marketing firms.will pay any cost for a particular item. Most of this information is available from national consumer databases anyway.
4.1 bottles per month. no… Of course it DOES know that your household consumes 1. they'll sell it to just about anyone who wants it. And it knows that you tried a competing grocery chain in August because the 1. getting you to buy more stuff at a higher price and consume it faster. huh? And that's just the tip of the iceberg lettuce…. And these guys know all about the low-hanging fruit. In fact. no. The information saves them time. They've picked it. and what you buy.6 that month.4 bottles of Italian salad dressing per month. and they can reap this data to sell more of THEIR product using the data. packaged it.4 bottle level dropped to 0. But it doesn't know that you like to sneak out and get a pint of premium ice cream on a Saturday night. the top 1/10th of that 64 . But wait a minute – isn't it true that the affluent neighborhoods sell more of everything at a higher price. But if you view the nation as a giant pyramid based on affluence. surely they're keeping it private – aren't they??? Well. this falls under the category of 'picking the lowest-hanging fruit first'. where you live. people whose job is to SELL YOU MORE STUFF! Information is money and time is money. so the manufacturers just focus on THOSE markets? Why would they mess with the many lower or middle-income neighborhoods in the nation? Actually. SHARED DATA. Scary stuff. shipped it. They can save a year or more of expensive research time. their loyal customer? This information is worth BIG BUCKS to people in the industry. in a word. The computer knows who you are. manufacturer "B" may 'cut to the chase' quicker by purchasing this information. It knows that you got crazy last November and tried the balsamic vinaigrette but it probably wasn't a hit because you didn't buy it again. but prefer the name brand variety. It knows that you have tried the store brand dressing once. Why would they do this to you. The ultimate solution being. If your grocery store chain knows all of these intimate details about your household. compared to your neighbor across the street whose family consumes 2. does it? No. So if manufacturer "A" has a wealth of information on the salad dressing preferences in a particular metropolitan area. NO. and sold it for years.represents? It's YOU. so they can get to the ultimate solution faster.
So the kids are happy. Betty doesn't make a huge income. The manufacturers of "Berry Blop" cereal are envious. The good part of this whole process is that you are proving your worth to the food industry with every purchase you make. but she's doing alright. and the food manufacturer is happy because he's successfully migrated Betty away from Fruit Goop. After all. GOOD DATA = GOOD VALUES. Based on sheer numbers. the majority of the profit for these food manufacturers is found in the secondary markets and lower. but the information on your buying habits is just as important – and possibly even MORE important – than the buying habits of rich people on Rodeo Drive.7 boxes for the past 3 years – has dwindled to…. So Betty starts getting some really interesting coupons in the mail or through the internet (see the online coupon section at the end of this book.pyramid is the affluent markets.7 boxes per month – and not the smaller boxes. let's look at a fictitious customer "Betty" who lives in a smaller rural city. ZERO 65 . So Betty redeems the coupon and brings the cereal home. if they can figure out how to get her to switch brands and become a loyal customer of theirs. The bottom 90% of the pyramid is the lower to middle-income neighborhoods. You're part of a larger consumer group. Betty's happy because she saved a lot of cash. and lo and behold – the kids could care less whether they're eating Fruit Goop or Berry Blop.) These values can help Betty really save some cash. To see how this works. not just the wealthiest households. they can use the same technique to influence the 15. and they'd sure like Betty to migrate over to their brands. but the big family-size boxes. EVERY consumer in America is of interest to the food manufacturers. because she's buying 4. Her kids seem to like "Fruit Goop" cereal. if only she would try them. But the story doesn't end there… The manufacturers of Fruit Goop cereal notice that Betty's volume – a steady 4.3 million other shoppers like Betty who live in similar-size communities and make similar levels of income. 5. SIMPLY PUT: you may live in Podunk.
BOXES! Flashing red lights and alarms are going off in the factory. "Something must be done," shouts the big boss with the cigar in his mouth. And so the legions of marketers snap into action and start blitzing Betty with huge discounts on Fruit Goop cereal. So now she can redeem these coupons on Fruit Goop and save even more money. The kids, meanwhile, are mass-consuming whatever she pours into their bowls. They're oblivious. Betty is ecstatic; her monthly food bills are going down. But wait, there's more… The manufacturer of Berry Blop notices that he's losing out again. He redoubles his effort – issuing even more coupons for the brand that he knows Betty's brood prefers two to one over Fruit Goop. So Betty uses those coupons on her next shopping trip. Repeat this cycle over and over, until the Betty clan outgrows their preference for excessivelysugared products, and wakes up to real nutrition. Then, the manufacturers start in on her new neighbors who have younger kids… While cynical and exaggerated, the example of "Betty" above is the basic process of couponing in America today. And while the delivery vehicles are not always so targeted, the industry is headed more and more in this direction. Take note of the coupons that are printed at the cash register: these are the principal ammunition in the household preference wars. Some coupons are printed and delivered directly to the household, but these are on a more infrequent basis due to the high cost. The biggest volume of activity in these wars takes place on a market-by-market level. The industry looks at overall performance by select demographic groups, and responds to the market as a whole by varying the coupon amounts and promotional activity by individual market. This is far more prevalent than individual household couponing. But the industry is getting more household-centric as technology gets more advanced. And certain changes in our technology-savvy households are closer than you think… 6. GUESS WHO'S COMING TO (TV) DINNER? (Apologies to Spencer Tracy, Sidney Poitier and Katharine Hepburn). Did you know that over-the-air TV broadcast is ending in 2009? More and more households are buying High Definition TV sets (HDTV), and soon everyone will have a digital receiver (or 2, 3, 4 or more) in their household. The color and clarity will be fantastic. The number and
diversity of the channels will be spectacular. And the commercials? Well, they'll be aimed directly between your eyes, or more specifically – your wallet. Let's say your name is Suzy Shopper and your neighbor across the street is Charlie Consumer, and you're both watching the latest chapter of "Desperate Cowgirls", the #1 network show far and wide. When it goes to commercial, you – Suzy Shopper – are viewing a commercial for the latest gas-guzzling vehicle to sputter out of Detroit. That's because you're driving a seven year old import, and your index potential for a new car purchase in the next six months is off the charts. Your neighbor Charlie, meanwhile, is viewing a commercial for golf clubs, because he plays golf six times a month. Hey – wait a minute – how did they know he's a golfer and I'm driving an old car??? And how the heck did they change those commercials out between our two households…??? This is simple stuff with the new technology in place today. And as far as knowing your lifestyle / hobbies / major purchases and brand preference? Heck, they even know what brand toothpaste you use… So how does this relate to you, Suzy Shopper and Charlie Consumer, each snug in your little condos in front of your blazing hot widescreen Plasma HDTVs? The marketers are coming for you both – individually and personally – and they're out for nothing less than total mind control. Okay, that sounded a little out there even for me… but the truth is that your buying habits are being monitored and addressed on increasingly-specific levels. The war for your wallet is gearing up for high speed, high-tech battle. And in the grand scheme of things, you are powerless to stop it. Sure, you can TiVo your way out of the commercials. But guess what? Soon enough, you won't WANT to. And here's why: Here you are, Suzy Shopper, watching the Cowgirls prance across your screen. Before you can grab the remote, a commercial for the new "MegaSmog V8 convertible" comes across your screen, and the graphic says, "Suzy – we'll pay you $100 to test drive this car today!" And you're thinking, "WOW – I could really use that $100 to buy 5 gallons
of gas for my current car, but I'm never going to buy a new car; I'll just go down there and get my free cash!" So you go down to the dealership, and you get your $100. The dealer is happy, too, because he knows that you are an interested shopper. He will continue to target you until you finally convert and buy the new car. It's a numbers game, so he's just happy to move you up the priority ladder among prospects. Meanwhile, your neighbor Charlie was previously watching Desperate Cowgirls, but he got bored and switched over to the Knitting Network. Guess what? The commercials followed him over there. In the future (i.e. now, or thereabouts), advertisers will buy time by households, segmented by very precise demographic indicators, rather than by blocks of time on a network. So whatever channel you select, you'll get a certain amount of household-specific offers. So Charlie is watching "Knit One / Purl, Too!" – on the knitting Network, his favorite hobby channel, and up comes a commercial for the latest set of golf clubs from Wham-Co. Charlie is perfectly happy with his old set of clubs, but the ad says, "Hey Charlie – come to Gargantuan Golf World this weekend, and we'll give you a dozen balls free – just for testing our new clubs.” Charlie was headed there to pick up some new balls anyway, so he says "what the heck" and heads off to the store. Soon thereafter, he's on the driving range blasting away with his new set of Wham-Co clubs, which, as he discovered at the store, he simply could not live without… THE MORAL OF THE STORY: It's really quite simple: whether you are a prospect for a new car, a set of golf clubs, or a year's supply of Fruit Goop cereal, your shopping selections are VERY IMPORTANT to manufacturers today. If you learn how to play their game and work their system, you can enjoy some real values and real savings. You may scoff at grocery coupons today. But coupons are coming your way, even if you never open the Sunday newspaper or read your mail: they will simply be delivered electronically. And you will WANT to view them and redeem them.
If you are a member of a frequent-shopper club. Affix a "sucker" label to your forehead and tell people proudly that you pay full price.The firms that purchase your family's shopping habits and brand preferences from your local grocery store are doing it now. Big Idea Recap – Chapter 9 BIG IDEA 51: If you "don't have time" to sign up for the grocery store shopper's club. You're really not helping any cause or righting any wrongs by NOT participating in the program. you DO end up saving money when you use the club card. There is really no down side to this or personal repercussions. so make an informed decision for you and your family that matches your personal preferences and comfort levels. they are in essence telling the store manager. and they will continue to do it in the future. Much of this data originates from the lowly-little 'frequent shopper club' tag sitting on your key chain. thank you. So I don't have any problem in recommending shopping club membership to everyone. be aware that every purchase you make – or don’t make – is being monitored. Is this whole process a bad thing or a good thing? Well. The decision to join the club or not join the club is a personal one. you "don't have time" to save money. 69 . getting the most for your shopping dollar is first and foremost. every day. "PLEASE RAISE OUR PRICES!" And guess what? The manager will gladly comply… BIG IDEA 54: Get a frequent shopper cart at every grocery store you visit. BIG IDEA 53: The buying patterns of shoppers at your local grocery store often dictate the prices you will pay. BIG IDEA 52: "Big Brother" is alive and well. but you need to know that you’re part of one of the world’s largest focus groups of all time. even if you only shop there once or twice a year. so there are immediate benefits to you that can help your family's budget. he's hiding in the aisles of your grocery store. and the truth is that this process will go on very well without you. If shoppers are lazy and prove that they will pay any cost for a particular item. for every item in the store. the bargains are well worth it. But in my book. Are there long-term disadvantages? That is a debatable subject.
or a P. you'll get the card immediately. The shopping actions of a lower-income household are monitored just as closely as those of the most affluent households. you can enjoy increasing amounts of free stuff. the sooner you'll get into the higher discount levels.BIG IDEA 55: Concerned about privacy? Register using your work address. You'll get more offers and better values over time. Of course. If you're traveling on vacation and need groceries. HDTV sets. 70 . The sooner you start the process. even if you don't plan to return anytime soon. BIG IDEA 56: EVERY consumer in America is of interest to the food manufacturers. BIG IDEA 60: Sign up for frequent shopper clubs at every grocery store you visit. the more interest you will attract from food marketers. you'll have to pay with cash because they can get your address off your check or your credit/ debit card. because you’ll get lots of free stuff and better deals on virtually everything you buy – even cars. You'll still get the card and enjoy the discounts. But coupons are coming your way. discounts and special values that other people won't enjoy. If you learn how to play their game. BIG IDEA 57: The more coupons you redeem. And you will WANT to view them and redeem them. but it will be harder for the store to link this to your home address. and you could save $10 or $20 just on your one visit. Box. cell phones and other high-ticket items.O. even if you never open the Sunday newspaper or read your mail: they will simply be delivered electronically. BIG IDEA 58: Today's brand marketers know a LOT about you already. BIG IDEA 59: You may scoff at grocery coupons today. get a card at the grocery store in that area. not just the wealthiest households.
so most of the big chains offer rebate clubs. which issue a monthly flyer of offers. The store doesn't care about giving $20 or $30 in rebate money to a senior. this one technique alone could save you over $1. Visit all the major drug store chain stores in your area at least once a month. When it comes to pharmacies. aka “Your Check’s in the Mail” Why you should join every one you can. hard-working youth of America. even if you don't normally shop there. (Does anyone use toupee wax anymore? There's a question for the ages…) So if you're like most people. The rebate club offers can allow you to get as much as $50 in FREE merchandise each month. and every item was something that somebody in my family could use. Even if you're not super-diligent or the offers aren't that lucrative every month of the year. Here's a money-saving tip: wander over there at least once a month. toupee wax. it is an ongoing store promotion that lets you purchase items and get some or all of the purchase price back in the form of a cash rebate. you could literally get $150 in FREE stuff each month – up to $1. These are typically found at the larger drug store chains. The store that you use to get your prescriptions filled is generally the store that you get your drug store supplies from. because some people get their prescriptions at the food store. it's the seniors. What is a rebate club? Simply put. Seniors spend more per capita on prescriptions than any other demographic group. etc. you rarely – if ever – venture over to the 'brand X' pharmacy. when they're 71 . My record on free items is $62 in one month. but people do tend to have their #1 favorite in terms of where they buy their shampoo.000 a year on drug store supplies! It's no secret that the pharmacy chains are in big competition with each other. people are definitely creatures of habit.Chapter 10: The Power of Rebate Clubs. just to pick up their rebate club flyer. If you visit 3 stores a month. It's not always true. hair coloring. The target for these clubs is not the income-earning.800 a year.
It's critical that you check the valid dates of the offer. They're trying to encourage repeat visits. Be sure to process your .00 rebate on a $2. You may be a struggling young family with a little cash in the bank but you are entitled to get the rebates just like anyone else. 72 4.99 bottle of sun tan lotion with a $7. (HINT: be a 'freebie' nut. but it's really more trouble than it's worth. I have found that some national chains offer the rebate club in all markets.going to buy $200 or $300 in prescriptions each month. unless you are super-diligent and/or a frequent visitor to that store anyway. 2.00 off the purchase price of the item.99 rebate for buying it.e. You will typically find items that are offered with a 100% rebate. because they don't want low-dollar customers to take advantage of the rebates. the flyer is on a rack as you enter the store. Others will be $1. they don't want tourists with disposable cash to get a break on anything – especially if they're ready to pay full price without question. The truth is that the stores cannot legally exclude any individual from getting the rebates. a $7. it's really free. In other words. One major drug store chain that will go unnamed has started to stagger their rebate offers throughout the month. This is a subtle way by which they try to discourage the 'freebie' nuts that will take anything for free – even if they don't want or need it. the next item may also give you a 100% rebate. because some manufacturers will offer a $3. but they don't want people buying it just because of that. Apparently. $2.00 or $3. REVIEW THE OFFERS. the first free item may earn you a 100% rebate. Here's how rebate club programs typically work: 1.00. MAIL IN THE REBATE REQUEST. Or it could be that they only want to offer the book to seniors. CHECK THE OFFER DATES. but in some tourist destinations you have to ask the cashier for a copy of the rebate book. You have to check these carefully. GET THE REBATE BOOK OR FLYER. In most drug stores. but you must buy it between the first and 7th of the month.99 item. but they only tell you this in the fine print. but you have to purchase it between the 8th and 16th of the month. i.) 3.
What you DON'T want to do is say. CHECK THE POSTMARK DATE REQUIREMENTS. It's a good practice to photocopy everything and keep in a file. SIDE NOTE: if you are allowed to use your company postage meter. and most people will surely forget to do the paperwork – thus. if you are responding to a January Rebate Club offer. or write the product’s barcode number down on your rebate form. That gives you positive proof that you mailed it 73 . I was once denied a $50 rebate check because the store’s cash register didn’t date the receipt. Some of the less-scrupulous clubs or their 3rd party vendors will try to get around sending you a rebate check. KEEP A PHOTO COPY. 7. The retailers call this "breakage". Think you can ‘slide’? Don’t count on it. 5. Read the fine print. or they will refuse it. How did I do it? I had back-up ammunition. READ THE REQUIREMENTS. 6. "I'll do it later" – because out of sight is out of mind. The sad truth is that a very high percentage of people who intend to mail in their rebate requests never quite get around to it. For most clubs. you can photocopy your outer envelope with the postmark date. don't procrastinate: set a filing procedure that works for you and stick to it. they lose their rebate – and that is what the drug store chains are counting on. If you want to be sure you get every extra dollar that's coming to you. but you can bet that I called them out on it and eventually got my rebate. if you haven't gotten your rebate.rebate request and mail it off IMMEDIATELY when you get home. Another critical item is the postmark date on your mail-in rebate request. The stores really don’t want to give you the rebate. After a few months. and they are counting on you to procrastinate. exactly the way they say it. How does a cash register malfunction and not print the date? It’s beyond me. Here's a rule that works for me: I don't allow myself to put the products away until I have completed the rebate forms AND sealed the envelope. because some of these stores will deny you the rebate if you don't do everything they say. Some rebates require that you cut out the barcode off the product. which is the next critical point. you'll have proof of mailing it in. so they’ll use any and all excuses not to issue the rebate check. your mail-in request MUST be postmarked by February 5th.
but that's not my concern: I just want what's coming to me. one major chain offers you a 10% 'bump' in your rebate total if you'll allow them to post the rebate amount to your rechargeable gift card. and simply turned my photocopies in to their regional managers. USE THE STORE'S GIFT CARD PLAN. use it first when making purchases at the store. CASH SECOND. If your store puts your rebate amount on a gift card. And I wouldn't be shocked if the third party processing companies turn in 100% of the rebate requests to the retailer. then pay any remaining balance with cash. it's good money management. BUG 'EM IF THEY'RE LATE. Proving this would be difficult. but on more than one occasion I have had a rebate processing company deny my rebate claiming that I violated rule X. It may seem trivial. which saves the rebate company a lot of cash. 8.within the proper timeframe. it's a huge kick to buy the next month's freebies with a gift card. Using my photocopies. 9. and a welltimed call to a 1-800-number can often get you quick service on your rebate request. 74 The downside of rebate clubs is that your cash is tied up for 30 to 60 . The store managers have always made good on the rebate offers. Some stores use a magnetic stripe gift card to provide rebate funds. It's a handy way to get a little extra cash back. Plus. but if you're denied a $50 or greater rebate like I was. It's cheaper for them than issuing checks. You don't earn interest by keeping the value on the card. and you can't turn it in for cash. This may seem like a lot of work. so you're actually getting more free stuff without spending any actual cash… 10. rather than have them issue you a check. I've gone to the store manager and pointed out that I did everything I was asked to. USE YOUR GIFT CARD'S STORED VALUE FIRST. Some companies intentionally do not mail rebate checks unless the consumer calls to complain. but only mail out checks to a small portion of the consumers. Plus. Don't be afraid to call the rebate company if they're late mailing you a check. it becomes your word against theirs – and having a back-up plan can help settle the dispute in your favor. So always use the credit before using real cash. They're counting on a large number of respondents simply forgetting about it.
I would suggest putting the purchases on a credit card. Well. Another secret about shopping at the big-box drug stores that you may never have heard of is the availability of multiple coupon redemption. (No big deal here. and you'll be pinned to the floor with an AK47 pointed at your forehead. I found a $2. "Save even more with manufacturer coupons found in today's paper. however: • No Doubling. Why is it.00 off coupons on several others. good on a select manufacturer's brand of soaps and shampoos: buy any 3 and get $3. because stores in my area only double up to 50¢ – one up to 99¢ – and these coupons were all above that value. Rebate clubs give you money back on everyday items that you're probably buying already. the secret 'coupon police' in dark suits with sunglasses will come rushing in. Sorry – there is no way around this one. If you are really cash-strapped. then.00 off on three brand-name products! There are several things you should be aware of. and the stores don't like it and won't accept it. You can use the rebate amount to purchase the next month's rebate items. Then. deposit it and IMMEDIATELY write a check in the exact amount to your credit card company. So I could easily get a total of $8. and $1. if you do it right. Well-Hidden Drug Store Shopping Secret. when the rebate check arrives.00 off coupon on one brand of shampoo. The headline read. Most drug stores do NOT double coupons like the grocery stores do. You only have to do this once. many of which are only available from a pharmacy and not a dollar store. The Most Amazing.00 store coupon issued by the retailer.days while your rebate form is being processed. that may be a little bit exaggerated.) 75 ." In checking the other coupons.00 off. Since you need them and are going to buy them anyway – regardless of the cost – it's well worth your time to apply for and get all the rebates that are available. In most grocery stores. Alarms will go off. presenting a second coupon for a single item will cause the cash register to error out. but you get the point: double-coupon presentment is fraud. that some drug stores not only accept it but ENCOURAGE it? It's true! A recent flyer in my Sunday newspaper showed a $3.
even if you don't normally shop there. bounce and shine – getting premium products makes all the difference in the world.00 on a total purchase price of $14 for three items is a bargain among bargains – you end up paying $2. Even if you're not super-diligent or the offers aren't that lucrative every month of the year. at the same time. the items are usually priced at full retail value – so you're starting from the highest price-point possible.000 a year on drug store supplies! BIG IDEA 62: Rebate clubs give you money back on everyday items that you're probably buying already.800 a year. Big Idea Recap – Chapter 10 BIG IDEA 61: Visit all of the major drug store chain stores in your area at least once a month. the savings are still well worth the effort of claiming them. this one technique alone could save you over $1. Saving $8. Since you need them and are going to buy them anyway – regardless of the cost – it's well worth your time to apply for and get all of the rebates that are available. It gives you a double-whammy of savings and often makes it possible for you to buy the super-premium brands at a price that is less than the 'bargain' no-name products! 76 .• No Price Reductions. you could literally get $150 in FREE stuff each month – up to $1. And if you have teenagers in the family whose entire world revolves around hair volume. All that said. many of which are only available from a pharmacy and not a dollar store.00 per item for premium products – in this case hair care items. If you visit 3 stores a month. The rebate club offers can allow you to get as much as $50 in FREE merchandise each month. When the drug store puts out savings like this. BIG IDEA 63: Some drug store chains will let you redeem both STORE coupons and MANUFACTURER coupons for the same item. however.
but the photo may show a certain flavor or packaging style of that product. minus the cost of the envelope and stamp to mail it back in. so this one is obvious. But instead of just giving the fine print a cursory glance. Also. They may require a certain size / flavor / packaging of the product (12 oz. 2. The offer may require that you send in the original cash register receipt for each of the 10 items. A typical example is "$5 cash back when you buy 10 of your favorites!" The ad will show a photo of the items you have to buy to get the rebate. In this case. assume that their 77 .Chapter 11: A Rebate Returned is Money Earned INDIVIDUAL PRODUCT OR BRAND REBATES: Are they worth the effort? YES!!! One way that manufacturers attempt to boost the sales of their entire product line is to offer a cash back deal when you buy a certain number of their products. read it. circling each of the ten on the receipt. so be sure you follow them so you'll actually get the rebate check in the mail rather than a "we're sorry" notice. Here are some of the 'secrets' of gaining the best value with a rebate. READ THE FINE PRINT. cans of Fizzy-Soda may not qualify if the coupon specifically requires that you buy 16 oz. and understand it BEFORE you shop – or you could be off the rebate money. Unless the fine print specifically says that all sizes and flavors qualify. the offer may require that you mail in the original coupon and not use a photocopy or printout off a rebate website. Remember that this offer gives you back $0. As always – there are details and conditions you have to know. The fine print may say that the offer is good on a particular brand of product.) There may be a date limit to your purchase.50 per item purchased. Okay. bottles of Fizzy-Soda. 1. Another key thing to watch is the quantity per individual item that is allowed. using the 'buy 10' offer as an example. you can buy up to two of any particular item – any more of that item will not count towards the ten-item minimum. LOOK AT THE PHOTO. so you can't use last week's receipt if the starting date is from this week's newspaper.
89 Can Green Beans $1. c. your mission should be to purchase the 10 lowest-price items that will qualify for the offer.00) .50 $1. meal helper mixes – mostly the highest-priced items in the offer.78 Quantity 2 ($0. the photo shows the higher-priced items – kids-size yogurt tubes.00 (qty. but they're not shown in the photo.50 $0.59 Yogurt in a Tube $3.59 Croissants in a Tube $1.89 $3.29 ($0. 2) $0.30 ($5.39 $11.09 $2. meaning you can find coupons for these items every day in numerous places. See if you can guess why these items weren't shown: soup. To get the maximum value for your effort.10 (55¢ coupon) $1.10 (55¢ coupon) $1.50 $0.99 'Helper' Meal Mix $2. yogurt drinks.80 (40¢ coupon) $0.39 $1. The soup line is already heavily couponed. While the name brand canned vegetables are typically more expensive than the store brands. The Mexican food line is also heavily couponed.39 Frozen Waffle Sticks $3.30 TOTAL SAVINGS $0 78 $1. A little detective work can often greatly increase the value you get from the rebate.30) $0.89 $2.08 $3. plus they have many lower cost items like refried beans which are often priced at less than $1. Other products are listed in the fine print as qualifying for the offer.50 - $2. they're also on sale quite frequently.59 $0.09 $3.70 (35¢ coupon) $1.50 $0.intention is that you buy the one shown in the photo.00 (50¢ coupon) $0. Here's why: Item Cost Retail Price Savings With Doubled Coupons Rebate Amount On This Item Net Cost of Item After Rebate AND Coupons Net Cost of Item After Rebate Only (No Coupons) Cereal A $3.99 $1.70 (35¢ coupon) $1.39 $1. and you can also find coupons for them from time to time. In one example.49 $2.99 FINAL COST $24.00 ($13.10 (55¢ coupon) ($8.50 $0.89 each) Frozen Carrots $1.59 Baking Mix $3.99 $1. kids' fruit snacks. b. 3.39 $0.30) $0. Here's why: a.01) $0.00 per can.50 $0. and use coupons when purchasing as many of the 10 items as possible.50 $0.10 (55¢ coupon) $0. canned vegetables and their entire line of Mexican food products.49 Biscuits in a Tube $1.49 $19.09 $1.70 (35¢ coupon) $0. LOOK AT WHAT'S NOT IN THE PHOTO.78 $0.
due to all of the paperwork you have to complete. you'll save over 45% on the same groceries! Big Idea Recap – Chapter 11 BIG IDEA 64: There’s no doubt about it: mail-in rebates are a real pain in the neck. but this one technique can generate $100 to $300 per year in savings: it's like getting your groceries FREE for 1 or 2 weeks out of the year. 79 .As you can see. The manufacturers are counting on you NOT to make the effort. $20 or $30 a month on groceries. But if you DO make the effort. It doesn't sound like much. the rebate was a good deal to begin with – by itself it saved you almost 26% on the groceries. you can save an extra $10. But if you use the coupons in combination with the rebate.
This margin of profitability determines how much PROFIT the restaurant will make at the end of the day. Learning how to control your margin can make a huge difference in how well your family lives. and 'brown bags' their lunches. This is the primary reason that chefs look for the lowest-cost provider of the CORE ingredients they use in their restaurant. let's look at a fictitious family. For an example. dairy products. We're talking about flour.Chapter 12: The Economics of Food Grocery Selections = Operating Margin In the restaurant business – as in any business – the difference between the COST OF THE INGREDIENTS and the SALE PRICE of the prepared food item is called the MARGIN. – items they use each and every day.43 per day on meals. Restaurants must maintain their budgets and a high level of profit margin. The Jones family earns a salary of $36. or a total of $21.500 per year after taxes. Here's how this $100 per day is spent: Mortgage: 35% Utilities: 10% Home Maintenance: 5% Insurance / Health Care: 10% Clothing / Personal: 10% Auto: 5% Savings / Retirement: 5% Food / Entertainment: 20% TOTAL: 100% This family's budget for food and entertainment is $20 per day. for an even average take-home amount of $100 per day. spices. (Note that this is DIFFERENT from the FEATURED ingredients or SPECIALTY items). they can spend a total of $150 per week at the grocery store. Assuming that the Jones family eats every breakfast and dinner at home. This gives them a total spending allotment of $600 per month. if they are to remain viable and profitable. Your home budget has a MARGIN as well. 81 . etc.
Operate your home kitchen the same way that a professional chef operates their kitchen: as a business. Big Idea Recap – Chapter 12 BIG IDEA 65: Operate your home kitchen the same way that a professional chef operates his or her kitchen: as a business. the family must do without new clothing. or whether they will need to take money away from the other budgeted items to meet their grocery bill. Every item that you can buy for less will IMPROVE your operating margin. the owner doesn't get a paycheck. cancel their insurance. the business will fail. Often.The MARGIN for the Jones family is whether they can actually feed their family on $21. the family budget will fail and the family will eventually declare bankruptcy or lean on parents or other relatives to bail them out financially. every item that you pay full price for will DETRACT from your operating margin. every item that you pay full price for will DETRACT from your operating margin. reduce or eliminate their savings. If the family's total expenditure consistently outstrips their income.43 per day. If the restaurant consistently fails to create a margin of profit. So let's take a look at smart choices you can make to get the absolute most out of your grocery dollar. At the Jones household. 82 . and why the choices you make at the grocery store CAN and WILL impact all areas of your family's life. or reduce in one of the other areas. The success of your family's annual budget depends on staying within – or below – your budgetary margin consistently. At a restaurant. month after month. If the restaurant doesn't show a profit. month after month. the area that must give way is the owner's paycheck. The success of your family's annual budget depends on staying within or below your budgetary margin consistently. Every item that you can buy for less will IMPROVE your operating margin. if the food expenditure exceeds the budgeted 20%. This is why it is important to stretch your family budget as much as possible. the MARGIN determines whether the establishment will show a profit at the end of the month or not.
That's nice if your cup of tea is cooking everything from scratch and tending a garden for two or three hours a day. but by selecting the smallest package you are probably paying more per ounce than if you bought the bigger package. Most of us need or justifiably want the conveniences of prepared foods to reduce our time in the kitchen. as long as you and your family can consume them before they expire or lose their freshness. get some professional advice. Get larger sizes of items. and frankly I don't care what foods you choose to buy or eat. and/or kids in school. You may be in the habit of buying the smallest item because you want the least-expensive item. That's all. This same rule of thumb applies to hundreds of everyday grocery items. The big jar typically contains twice as much. I'm not a doctor. totally apart from using coupons or obtaining store discounts. What I hope to do here is give you some ideas on how to enjoy the foods you want to eat. Most of us are lucky to find a halfhour to ourselves every other day. a social life.Chapter 13: Smart Grocery Choices & Core Ingredients Let me start by saying that I'm not preaching here. let's leave it at that. while paying less for them. telling you that you only need to buy a sack of flour. Mom needs a break too. 83 . that's fine. go see your doctor. Another thing I'm not advocating is a change in your diet. household supplies and personal care items. let alone tackle a return to an allnatural lifestyle. There are three major ways to cut your grocery bill. If you want to change your diet. I don't advocate going 'back to your roots' and only buying raw materials. some eggs. Many writers have covered that territory. but only costs about 40% to 50% more. They are: • BUY BIG. It doesn't fit too well with modern life. That approach simply doesn't work if you have a fulltime job. If you typically buy a small jar of peanut butter every two weeks. and put a plan in place. consider buying the big jar every 4 weeks. you know. milk and a few ingredients and grow everything else in your backyard.
Put two or three of the item on your back shelf. when you consider the cost of eating the same type of meal at a restaurant. rather than preassembled mixtures of core ingredients. even if you won't need them for six months or a year. Currently. but for most families they are already a core part of their diet – often without consciously selecting them: • Potatoes • Onions • Carrots • Tomatoes • Mixed Vegetables – Seasonal • Rice • Pasta • Meats: chicken. Find the logical middle ground that works for you and your schedule. But buy the primary ingredients of recipes rather than the put-together final products.• MAKE TIMELY BUYS. Sweet Potatoes. beef. 84 . Stock up when items are on sale. etc. bag of food is an appetizer…) That's not too bad. invest in additional units of items when they are at their lowest cost. • BUY BASIC. stock up & save. Grits. How? Let's look at the core ingredients. you may not use any of the following core ingredients in your food selections. Again. (unless you have teenagers and a 5 lb. if it's available now at half the cost or below. A frozen dinner mixture may contain bite-size nuggets of chicken.00. There is a middle ground between buying a prepared baking mixture and growing your own wheat. Buy the core ingredients of recipes.00 to $6. rice and sauce. pork. But it's not the best you can do price-wise. A bag of this mixture probably costs about $5. Select according to your taste & dietary preferences. Let's use a frozen all-in-one dinner mix as an example. and will sort of feed the average four-person family adequately. as long as the items are not highly perishable or they have a fairly decent shelf life. As long as you will eventually consume the item. and cooking the same meal from scratch could cost you less than half this much. • Alternative Core Ingredients: Tofu. plus chopped broccoli. Bulgar Wheat.
One to one and a half chicken breasts cut in pieces. am I saying that ALL pre-mixed dinners or boxes of pre-cooked side dishes are bad? NO – of course not! The food companies are not bad people. and you can save a lot of time and effort by using them. savoring the taste. and they're not idiots.Various spices in minute amounts .1/4 cup of soy sauce . except there's usually not as much chicken as you would like. and that's what dinnertime is all about. the garlic isn't really zingy. So overall. sliced . cook on low for about 10 minutes.One or two cooked carrots. the fresh vegetables can actually be higher. doesn't it? You dump the contents of the bag into a saucepan. isn't it? PERISH THE THOUGHT! Dinnertime should be about enjoying your food.Various preservatives and chemicals (sorry. cooked broccoli . It's sustenance. 85 . Are All Mixes Bad? Of Course Not! Now. . The cost difference between frozen / boxed / dehydrated vegetables and fresh vegetables is not always huge. because they were cooked a few months ago and frozen. color and smell of a fresh-cooked meal – that's the difference between simply eating and eating well. chopped . but nothing to rave about.One or two garlic cloves. The quality of the food is reasonably acceptable. had to mention this…) Sounds like a lot. The vast majority of these pre-mixed food items are very high in quality. The broccoli and carrots are kind of mushy. In some cases. starting from core ingredients will almost always be less expensive. But in combination with all of the other elements that go into a meal. cooked and frozen a long time ago.Two or three cups of chopped.Two or three cups of cooked rice . And. But just be aware that you are paying a price for this convenience. because it was chopped.The pre-blended mixture contains roughly the following ingredients: . either. and it's ready to serve. it's an okay meal.
And in many cases. resulting in better quality for less money. when you buy pre-mixed / preseasoned / prepared meals. Is it bad stuff? Well. and you have a coupon for them. But with a box of ready-to-go stuffing mix. WHICH you wouldn't ever do. Pre-packaged meals can cost up to 5 times as much as the same meal prepared from scratch. If you are cooking for one. Develop a set of time-saving recipes that use core ingredients. Stock up on them when the pricing is right. would you make fresh stuffing if you had to start with the bread and spices and mix it all yourself? Probably not. the bigger the package. So no – it's NOT bad stuff. or you eat like a church mouse. Just remember this: in most cases. you can reduce your total cost of food. IF you were starting from scratch. many of these pre-mixed food products are very good. BIG IDEA 67: Generally speaking. so they'll be on hand when you need them. the smaller the package – the greater the cost per ounce / pound. so it's just about the same thing YOU would make. For example. the lower the cost per serving. you can have fresh stuffing in about 5 or 10 minutes. many. buying small makes sense. All I'm suggesting here is that you buy them when they're on sale. and they can save you a lot of time. you can go back to the core ingredients and replicate these mixes with fresh ingredients.Variety – and Pre-Mixed Foods – Can Be A GOOD Thing! Some pre-mixed or prepared foods allow you to enjoy items you would rarely cook from scratch – if ever. and you can easily cut your food costs in HALF. you are paying a HUGE mark-up for the service. the more you will lower your cost of food. Big Idea Recap – Chapter 13 BIG IDEA 66: By using core ingredients to prepare your family's meals. it's actually pretty darned good stuff! The moral of this story: many. it's made of bread and spices. The more you get back to basics in your meal preparation. But for everyone / everything else. 86 . or the items you buy are very perishable.
grab it. 87 .BIG IDEA 68: When you see a bargain. The more you get back to basics in your meal preparation. you are paying a HUGE mark-up for the service. You'll be investing a little cash now. If it's a non-perishable item. BIG IDEA 69: Whenever you buy pre-mixed / pre-seasoned / prepared meals. the more you will lower your cost of food. grab 2 or 3 and stash them away for future use. but you'll be saving a lot of cash down the road.
but you can't improve on the pure nutrition that is built into the spud. Example: a tomato. Example: a potato. It's hard to top perfection. fry them. Tomatoes are so flavorpacked. and it's wonderful on the palate. 89 . sauté them – you can do a 1. and many Indian and southern Asian dishes revolve around a vegetable base. You will be amazed at how simple the vast majority of dishes really are. You really don't have to do a lot of fancy cooking to make good food when you start with nature's finest. but overall it's incredibly packed with flavor – right out of the ground. but deep down basic food is pretty darn good to begin with! Example: a carrot. and delicious. they're tremendous in a million different ways.Chapter 14: Real Food. simple is best: the basic flavor of the core ingredients is pure. Add a touch of seasoning and they're on just about everyone's top-10 list. Cook them. there are exceptions to every rule. Real Cooking Let me be frank here: cooking is actually very. Granted. A little enhancement can make a world of difference. A few minor enhancements can do wonders. very simple. and then count the dishes that have multiple core ingredients. With the majority of foods. whip them. It rarely needs any improvement. Many Italian dishes revolve around pasta. Yes. The greatest chefs in the world all cook the same way: they start with a core ingredient at the base and then they add something to it to make it unique. Of course. of course. you might add a little butter or tiny touch of brown sugar. They are wonderfully complex yet simple at the same time. Cook it until tender.001 things with a potato. But the next time you are in your favorite restaurant. Don't get me started. scan down the menu and count the dishes that are based on one core ingredient. many Chinese and Japanese dishes revolve around rice. some dishes are more elaborate and require multiple base items. many middleeastern dishes revolve around grains. many Irish dishes revolve around potatoes. simple.
Poke holes in it with a fork. bacon bits. Think of how many commercials you've seen where the wife heats up a ready-to-eat dish of pre-mixed stuff. and the family goes wild with glee at the wonderful taste and nutrition. cooking from scratch (or at least using a few core ingredients) can be JUST AS EASY. If you can change your mindset about core ingredients and what it MEANS to cook. butter or butter substitute.) 2. sour cream or plain yogurt. Serve with your choice of toppings (cheese. BAKED POTATO. Microwave it for 5 to 7 minutes. I want to change the way you think about cooking. Wash it off. (And by the way. If people knew how easy it is to cook from scratch – at a fraction of the price of buying their prepackaged meals – they wouldn't make as much money. you have a valid point. I have to use premade mixes. you'll discover that it simply doesn’t have to be that difficult. too!) They always show how the preparation takes just a minute or two. 90 . TACOS. PEOPLE! They are conditioning you to think that COOKING = HARD WORK and PAIN. if you approach it correctly. I know you're thinking: "I'm too busy to cook. Take a taco shell out of the package. Shake some sea salt on the outside. Cooking can be one of the simplest things in your life. Wean yourself from the notion that cooking is difficult. why is it always the WIFE? We husbands cook. etc. let alone crack open the recipe book. Serve with salsa. It's the key to seriously reducing your food budget. BUYING THEIR MIX = SIMPLICITY and COMFORT. Add a few scoops of canned chunky chili. so you'll buy their pre-cooked meals. Top with cheese (I like mozzarella on mine). To make my point. too. And yes. Take a potato. The food industry WANTS you to think that cooking is difficult. here are five dinners you can cook in LESS THAN FIVE MINUTES (and actually less than 1 minute if you're fast…) 1. Microwave for 1 to 2 minutes. We're all too busy these days to even think about cooking. I don't have time to cook". and the end results are always perfect. THIS IS BRAINWASHING. In reality.Okay.
My kids love this one: boil up a box of noodles – any kind – such as ziti. 4. add a little water. You'll get new ones every week by email if you subscribe to my membership site located at www. and you've got a spicy oriental soup that makes a very enjoyable dinner. If you're constantly stretched for time. drain. chop up a tomato. you can sauté these in a frying pan with a little hot pepper oil while the noodles are cooking. cook a pot of rice on Sunday and keep it in the fridge all week long. ALFREDO A LA QUICKIE. and you've got a quick cheesy meal. Not too exciting. then toss on top of the rice and add a little soy sauce. RICE WITH VEGGIES.) Sauté these with a little hot pepper oil until tender. When they're done. maybe some squash and carrots. it will be good as new. So vary your enhancements. add some pepper and salt. To top it. toss in the noodles. As I mentioned above. You could also sauté some meat or seafood if you'd like.grocerysavings. whatever. BUT – if you buy a bag of frozen Chinese vegetables and a bag of pre-cooked peeled shrimp. and they're ready in 3 minutes. 91 . but you only have to stir them once in a while. There are hundreds of these types of recipes out there.3. and chop in a few chunks of butter (or butter substitute if you're watching your cholesterol. Feel free to share your favorites with friends. and add that. most restaurant menu items are just a core ingredient with enhancements. they're the little "6 for $1" packages of noodles. elbow. 5.us. When you need to make a quick lunch or dinner. so it's very cheap as well. RAMEN NOODLES. It's quick – it's tasty – and you'll think you ordered take out.) Shake some powdered parmesan or romano cheese on top. The secret to innovative. You heat 2 cups of water until boiling. bowties. seasonings and styles of the additional items you add to your core ingredients. it takes 10 to 15 minutes to cook. One bag will make about 5 or 6 dinners. put into a bowl. (For convenience. It's fast. You know what these are. Sure. Toss them into the finished soup. you can also buy a bag of frozen veggies and use just a tiny portion. put 2 cups of the rice in a pot. and heat on low for 5 minutes. exciting cooking is to vary the sauces. and it's very tasty.
BIG IDEA 73: Cooking fast & delicious meals for yourself and your family should not be a chore. healthier food every day. easy-to-cook recipes that use CORE INGREDIENTS and that your family enjoys. But first – you have to become an expert at cooking the core ingredients. if you approach it correctly.experiment. too. If you start building a list of quick. Plus. so you'll buy their over-priced pre-mixed dinners. you can cut your food costs in half. try new things. you'll be saving LOTS of money. Big Idea Recap – Chapter 14 BIG IDEA 70: You really don't have to do a lot of fancy cooking to make good food when you start with nature's finest. It's hard to top perfection. and you'll keep your menu vibrant and inviting. 92 . BIG IDEA 72: Wean yourself from the notion that cooking is difficult. BIG IDEA 71: The food industry wants to DISCOURAGE you from cooking. you're doing it wrong! Do it right. It's the key to seriously reducing your food budget. Cooking can be one of the simplest things in your life. If it is. and you'll eat better.
Set your timer to 10 minutes. Easy. If you can really get the hang of cooking core ingredients. the local pharmacy sells appliances now. • If you can learn to make rice. Stir it once in a while. Heck. the rest – pun fully intended – is gravy. the rest of the cooking process is a breeze. you can add countless varieties of toppings for a healthy. GOOD APPLIANCES CAN HELP. This doesn't have to be expensive. They can save you huge amounts of time in the kitchen. (HINT: nature made this recipe easy. 93 . I would suggest that you take an inventory of your appliances. you've got the basic foundation for about half a gazillion Chinese recipes.Chapter 15: A System for Cooking = A System for Savings How to Develop a System for Cooking Core Ingredients. Once you've got your own system down. If they're still too hard at 10 minutes.) • If you can learn to boil noodles. If you're cooking-challenged. you can make Italian food with your hands tied. easy to remember. and they frequently give $5 and $10 rebates for buying them. One cup of rice. (Have you seen those 'potato martinis' they serve in the fanciest restaurants? They're nothing more than mashed potatoes topped with sautéed meats and vegetables. We are so lucky today to have time-saving appliances available for every conceivable kitchen task. (HINT: boil a pot of water.) • If you can peel & boil potatoes. two cups of water. It's always double the water for a single unit of rice. cook 'em a few minutes more. nutritious dinner. So if you want to take control of your food budget and really cut your dependency on packaged meals. this chapter will be critical to your success in weaning yourself from pre-packaged meals. the rest is a cakewalk. Investing in a few basic items could really make your life easier. and many just about do all the work for you. What a novel idea!) Once you determine how best to cook your core ingredients. Get familiar with cooking core ingredients from scratch.
and in 15 minutes or so your rice is done perfectly. these scare the daylights out of most people. Plus. And let me share a secret that every fine Italian cook will tell you: buy a block of hard cheese and grate it in your mini-processor just before serving over your pasta. Now. and they'll love you back all the more. RICE COOKER. squash – basically any hard vegetable. It will be the best chicken soup 94 . cool for 30 minutes. It's our job to keep the family happy. and it's chopped in about 5 seconds. blades & cover all go right into the dishwasher. You don't need to watch it. water and salt / pepper in the pot. kids just love rice. especially if you’ve got small kids to tend to. They shouldn't – because a pressure cooker can cut your cooking time by 50% or more – and they lock all the nutrients into your food. scallions. plug it in.Listed below are some items that I couldn't live without. PRESSURE COOKER. so there's not a lot of clean-up. The same thing goes for carrots. Plus. And the bowl. garlic. and your meat will fall off the fork. cut it into 4 pieces and drop it in the processor. But hey. vegetables. and save. turn off the heat and let it sit for 30 minutes. stir it or tend to it in any way. It will make an ordinary meal extraordinary. and if the family won't eat what we cook – what good is it? So cook what your family loves. some of you nutritional purists will shudder at some of these suggestions. For some reason. They’re also ideal for grating hard cheeses. FOOD PROCESSOR (or mini-processor if you're single or you've got a small family). A good processor will cut your cooking time by half. those of us on the front-line of the family-feeding war need all the help we can get. a pressure cooker can make even the cheapest cuts of meat tender. once the pressure weight is rocking cook it for 20 minutes. Peel an onion. It’s the ideal cooking helper. Buy a huge bag. One of the easiest things to cook is rice – and one of the best time-savers is to get a rice cooker. They're great for stews (cook for 15 minutes. press the "chop" button. You dump your ingredients in.) They make excellent chicken soup (put a chicken. And as a bonus – rice is still very reasonably priced.
Make a pot of Japanese noodles – soba noodles are available in many import shops. Add 3/4 cup water. I like to remove them. 95 . cool the cooker immediately with cold water. You just have to get over the 'guilt' factor and admit that most people love fried foods. Yes. Close the pressure cooker.) Get over the fear. cauliflower. top with bread crumbs. turn up the heat. Chop up some vegetables – broccoli. It's not THAT bad for you from time to time… I bought a family-sized fryer at the drug store for $20 after rebate.you've ever had. Cool the cooker immediately and remove the chops. it makes them look more appetizing and more like oven-baked chops. and cook for about 10 minutes once the weight starts rocking. carrots – and get some fresh peeled shrimp. what do you order when you're in a restaurant? Being able to cook restaurant-quality fried foods in your household can significantly reduce your food budget. The only difference: you've saved at least an hour of cooking time! They're ideal for cutting the time required to cook vegetables (cooks in 1 to 5 minutes after the pressure weight starts rocking. Now. salt & pepper for flavor) for about 3 minutes on each side. It's really a great appliance. if you want to reduce the amount of fried foods you serve but still add the flavor and appeal of fried foods to your menu. try this.) They can cut an hour or more out of the cooking time required for meats such as pork chops. But admit your vice and face your fears. Just sear your chops in the pressure cooker in a little oil (adding garlic. and deep fry the veggies and shrimp in the fryer. They'll be fully-cooked. But what do the kids order every time you're in a restaurant? Heck. it's a nutritional crime. I can take a basic potato – probably costing about 25 cents or less – and create restaurant-quality fries in about 10 minutes. and your veggies are ready to serve. and brown in the broiler for about 3 minutes. I know people want to live "healthy" and avoid fried foods. Heat up some chicken broth for the soup. Serve over the soba noodles and soup and you've got a dynamic Japanese meal that the family will love. Yes. Plus. tender and ready-to-eat. Mix up some tempura batter. DEEP FRYER. try pressure-cooking in your household and you'll be a convert for life.
Spread the mixture all across your griddle and cook on medium-high heat for 15 minutes. hearty breakfast or side dish. Oil your griddle lightly. cheaper – and more nutritious for your family. is to make pancakes. You see? A deep fryer is NOT the evil device you thought it was…! ELECTRIC GRIDDLE. One of my favorites is hash brown potatoes. Grate 3 or 4 potatoes in your food processor (SO much easier than grating by hand. Cut into 8 squares and flip each square and cook for another 10 minutes or so.you've minimized the amount of fried foods you're serving. Total cost for 8 servings: about 15¢ a serving. This appliance is indispensable in my household. The result is a flavorful. The frozen hash browns in your grocer’s freezer will cost about 3 times that amount. Mix it all together with salt & pepper. But it’s also ideal for dozens of other recipes as well. Plus. The #1 use. Big Idea Recap – Chapter 15 BIG IDEA 74: Adding a few inexpensive appliances to your kitchen will make cooking easier. and you don’t skin your knuckles.) Grate an onion as well. 96 . of course. it will help you switch to a "fresh cooked" diet rather than a "frozen / reheated" diet – which can save you big bucks on your groceries. and the taste won’t even come close to that of the home-made recipe.
Plus. The reward will be meals that can be much tastier and probably a lot healthier for you and your family. .I hate to cook. – I'm too busy to shop.There's no time to cook. Then. I'm pretty sure you can find the five minutes! You can cook fresh meals from CORE INGREDIENTS in almost the same amount of time it takes to heat up a pre-mixed meal. Consider some simple steps in the way you approach cooking. see if somewhere in your busy day you could find just 5 minutes to steal and re-apply to meal preparation. You had enough time to buy the bag of premade stuff. . consider the alternative answers. didn't you? Consider that you could buy a variety of core ingredients – many of which are also found in the freezer section – with just a few extra minutes of shopping time. . For everyone else. the recipes you use (or don't use).I'm too busy to shop. The moral of this story is this: you're already devoting a certain amount of time to meal preparation. and the way you prepare your meals. Healthier Meals Why do so few people cook fresh meals? Do you give any credibility to these common myths: .Chapter 16: Quick-Cooking: The Secret to Happier. add the glop. If your schedule is SO TIGHT that you absolutely could not find 5 minutes anywhere – and your life is literally on a stopwatch every minute of the day – you probably have a personal shopper and a personal chef. – There's no time to cook.My family wouldn't know the difference anyway. you're going to find enough time to get out a pan. Again. Now. Consider some minor alterations to the ingredients you buy. heat the glop and dish it up. and you 97 . you'll probably find 20 or 30 minutes to eat the meal.
with almost no additional 98 . Look at the ingredients of the sauce: it's full of modified food starch. because it's all that they know. and make a much more satisfying and healthy meal. simple meals that your family will love. I call this QUICK COOKING. even if you find the recipe for boiling water too difficult. People eat bottled spaghetti sauce over pasta. Your family WILL notice the difference and chances are they'll thank you for the improvement. They eat what they're given. in this case). The reason many families are oblivious to the taste or quality of their food is that they've never experienced real cooking. It FILLS you up but is it good for you? You can buy a can of crushed tomatoes for less than the can of prepared sauce. and if you do it right it won't take you a lot of extra time.can save time. add a few pennies worth of spices. Take it one step at a time. because it's what they've always eaten. "QUICK COOKING" will allow you to produce quality meals for less. But I'd like to propose an alternative to cooking. many people simply DUMP bags or cans of glop into saucepans and heat it up. and enjoy it a whole lot more. It will make your meals extra special. they don't expect anything better. The one and only ingredient in the can of tomatoes is TOMATOES. This is a valid concern if you view cooking as a chore – which many people do. though. – My family wouldn't know the difference anyway. What if you could just dump DIFFERENT bags or cans of stuff into the same pot. in the interest of saving time. and lower your food costs. Don't you think that might be healthier than a ton of food starch and preservatives? YES! Do you think you might feel better by eating allnatural ingredients? YES! The proof is in the pudding (or pasta. A lot of people choose DUMPING over COOKING. which is nothing more than a filler and it's aptly named. You might be surprised on this one. enjoy better meals. – I hate to cook. To avoid cooking. Even if you DETEST setting foot in the kitchen. and even the most die-hard mageirocophobiac (person with an intense fear of cooking) can become an efficient quick cooking expert and save money on food with a little patience. you CAN learn to cook quick fast.
whatever you choose to cook. frozen waffles Cans or jars of sauce. beans. and the high-priced alternatives they replace. canned beans "Closeout" fresh vegetables (items that the store must sell today or throw away) HIGH-PRICED PREPARED ITEM Pre-cooked rice in frozen dinners Frozen French fries. dry potato flakes. in the case of packaged foods).fresh potato wedges. With just a few minutes of planning. a vegan or a Venutian. frozen Prepared spaghetti sauce Frozen or canned vegetables Tiny amounts of chicken found in prepared dinners Canned noodle dinners or pasta mix meals Tiny packets of partially-cooked dried oatmeal Baked loaves of bread Frozen. cheese. pull out a pan. Insider Secret: You're Already Buying Core Ingredients – But Not At Their Source! As previously mentioned. Okay. or packets of dry gravy mix Frozen Mexican food dinners Vegetable soup in the can 99 . you can follow these tips and start cooking and eating better and cheaper. The chef (or food manager. turn on the stove. You end up taking the same basic steps you do now: open a can. To these they add a variety of topping or add-ins to create the final meal that you eat. you can make TREMENDOUS changes in the cost of your meals as well as your family's satisfaction with them. how do we handle this "QUICK COOKING" without a lot of work and clean up? Let's look at a few core meal ingredients and how you can use them to create dozens of exciting. You're just being more selective in what you're putting into the pan. starts with a core ingredient or multiple core ingredients. frozen or tube biscuit dough. uncooked Bread flour Fresh meats. it doesn't matter if you're a meat-eater or a vegetarian. etc.canned Fresh broccoli. and how you're doing it. prepared meals with tiny portions Pre-baked biscuits.investment of your time. most cuisines – from the most basic to the most exotic – are variations on a theme.large drum. LOW-COST CORE INGREDIENT Rice .uncooked Oatmeal . Here are some of the core ingredients that you can buy at the source as fresh ingredients. delicious recipes. skinless chicken breasts Pasta . carrots. Tomatoes .dry Potatoes . For the sake of this discussion. any fresh vegetable Boneless. rip open a bag. poultry and fish Baking Mix Homemade sauces & gravies Fresh tortillas. etc.
Determine what you have to work with first (i. Big Idea Recap – Chapter 16 BIG IDEA 75: Regardless of how little or how much time you have to shop. what's cheapest / freshest). with no time to cook and no time to shop – is in three key steps: • AVAILABILITY of economical core ingredients.The secret to feeding your family well – with tasty and enticing food on a bargain-basement budget. then decide what you're going to build and how you're going to build it. and you can save time – enjoy better meals – and lower your food costs. The way you plan your menus. store. • TECHNIQUE to quickly prepare and cook your meals using some core sauces. Consider some simple steps in the way you approach cooking. To get a handle on how remarkably simple these three steps can be. even if 100 . • FLEXIBILITY to mix and match the ingredients that you can buy economically. The best way for YOU to cook. b. (more about this later). and serve nutritious meals your family will actually eat. c. let's look at: a. seasonings and styles that are appropriate for your family's eating habits. The way you buy these items. train yourself to select CORE INGREDIENTS rather than pre-mixed meals. BIG IDEA 76: You can cook fresh meals from CORE INGREDIENTS in almost the same amount of time as heating up a pre-mixed meal. BIG IDEA 77: Even if you DETEST setting foot in the kitchen.e. and you will save tremendous amounts of money. having them accessible. Think of food ingredients the way the chefs do: as building blocks to fine meals.
BIG IDEA 78: "QUICK COOKING" will allow you to produce quality meals for less. with almost no additional investment of your time. BIG IDEA 79: Think of food ingredients the way the fine chefs do: as building blocks to fine meals. what's cheapest / freshest). 101 . simple meals that your family will love. Determine what you have to work with first (i. you CAN learn to quick fast.you find the recipe for boiling water too difficult. then decide what you're going to build and how you're going to build it.e.
Think of your own dining experiences. RICE Rice can be made from 'scratch' very easily. Surely. Nutritious Meals With Your Core Items Let's review how a variety of core ingredients can be prepared. Nature came up with a very easy 103 . Do you know how the world's greatest chefs decide their menus? Ask any chef what they will be cooking tonight. But that doesn't mean people will pay. If the chef 's special sounds appealing and it costs a few dollars less than the other items. and they'll tell you that it depends on what is in season. or the wholesale meat market. don't you sometimes choose the special? Another reason to choose the chef 's special is abundance. it's often because the item is in season – and hence is very fresh and is available in large quantities. If flounder is in abundance at the fish market and the price is lower than that of the other fish. The fastest way is with a pressure cooker or a rice cooker. Great chefs plan their menu when they go to the market. then enhanced with additional ingredients to create unique meals. How to Cook Delicious. If shrimp is on sale. the fresh seafood market. they can charge whatever they'd like for the items in the restaurant? Well. because they are being harvested now – not six months ago. When an item is in abundance. technically they can. You may wonder why the chefs use this method. which do you think will taste better? CHEAPEST can often mean BEST when it comes to food selections. tonight's special will be flounder. That's because those items are in most abundant supply – and therefore the lowest in cost – are usually the freshest. If the flounder is fresh and the other choices start out frozen. tonight's special will be shrimp. It may be the farmer's market.Chapter 17: Planning Your Menus How to choose value ingredients to make luxury meals.
Sounds pretty easy. simply heat some oil in a frying pan then add your rice and cook until slightly browned. Microwave for about 3 minutes. i. soy sauce. you travel a lot and can't leave fresh food in the refrigerator. then stir and cover with a plate to prevent splashing.recipe for rice: 1 part rice. sashimi (imitation crab). See? Cooking can be easy and fun! OATMEAL Oatmeal has the same simple recipe. Worcestershire sauce. mix 1/2 cup oatmeal with 1 cup of water or milk. beef. You can 'nuke' rice back to health in your microwave. For families on the go. Try it. if you like it richer. and vegetables. straight from nature: 1 part oatmeal. 2 parts water (or milk. barbecue sauce or any other ingredients you like. Continue microwaving for 1 minute at a time until done. If your meals are more infrequent. and be ready to reheat them quickly for individual meals. lightly beat one or two eggs in a bowl (but not so much that bubbles form).e. in a matter of minutes. Just store the leftover rice in a plastic storage bowl. just add a little water. For fried rice. Recipes. chicken bouillon. Make a large quantity of your core ingredients. but it's usually best just to cook plain white rice. saffron or other spices. For egg fu yung. try freezing your rice in small plastic containers. 2 parts water. consider making a large pot of rice on Monday and using it in your recipes throughout the week. huh? You may want to add a dash of sea salt.) Oatmeal is one of the only foods that actually cooks better in a microwave than it does on the stove. You'll cut vast amounts of time out of your cooking procedures. nothing could be simpler. There are countless ways to make tasty meals with rice. and you'll eat fresh-cooked quality with every meal. Let it steam for a few minutes. 104 . To reheat. add to the rice mixture and flip after a minute or so. Some simple ideas are to add pre-cooked chicken. cover and heat. Add a splash of teriyaki. you'll be amazed at how smooth and creamy it comes out! For one serving. then add your other ingredients.
The thing to bear in mind is that you can often find potatoes on sale for $2. and you've got a delicious baked potato that can serve as your main course. microwave or fry potatoes in many different ways.POTATOES There are countless ways to cook with potatoes. mashed. You can boil. boiled & quartered with butter or chicken broth. They'll only keep for a few days. Then. These additives have 105 . and tasty. Recipes: Again. the possibilities for using potatoes in recipes are endless. by meal: Breakfast: Chop your cooked potatoes and fry them in butter to make tasty hash browns. hot sauce. to make a tasty meal. full of fiber. chopped scallions. I suggest using the imitation butter spray and / or powdered and flavored 'butter buds' that are available today. and they learned many different recipes to add variety. That works out to about 25 cents per potato – one of the cheapest. most nutritious foods in the grocery store.. of course…). If you're careful about what you put on them. slice your potatoes and fry in butter to make home fries. just get a good cookbook (at a yard sale or thrift store. To prepare a base supply of potatoes early in the week. Families existed on potatoes during the potato famine in Ireland. especially at the start of a strenuous work day where you'll need extra energy. Here are a few ideas. Add a little cheese. they can be a healthy choice too. cooked broccoli. bake. consult a recipe book and you'll be amazed at the uses for potatoes. just peel and boil your potatoes until fully cooked. sour cream. Top with chili and cheese or canned meat to make a filling quick meal. so only cook what you can use fairly soon.. for variety. Potatoes are an excellent addition to a hearty breakfast. They're fat free. Lunch: Poke some holes in an unpeeled potato and microwave it for about 5 minutes. Add cheese.50 for a 5-lb. bacon bits. Or. bag. etc. etc. Again. Use them as a 'base' with stew or sautéed veggies on top.00 or $2. Dinner: Serve them baked. store then in a plastic storage bowl until you need them. etc.
Ever had a sliced tomato on the plate with your bacon & eggs? They're delicious anyway but you can add either salt or sugar for even more flavor. You're eliminating all of the additives. fast alternative to fresh tomatoes – especially when you don't have time to shop. nothing is better than a fresh-picked tomato! Lunch. TOMATOES Why single out tomatoes as an ingredient? I'm also singling them out because they're the staple ingredient in Italian cooking. They're easy to grow and relatively cheap to buy – especially the canned variety. But for busy people they can be an excellent. or you're frequently on the road and fresh tomatoes just go bad on the shelf. and many ethnic foods from around the world. Plus. Try a home-made Bacon Lettuce Tomato sandwich (BLT). cans of tomatoes are typically a lot cheaper 106 . vegetarian cooking. The Irish knew this centuries ago. Here are a few of my favorites: Breakfast. and can make a baked potato seem almost decadent even as this filling and flavorful meal actually helps you lose weight! A large bag of potatoes has more nutrition. In the south. starches and fillers that are common in the jars of sauce that most people use. and more value than just about any item in your grocery store. Chop them up and add them to an omelet or just eat a raw tomato with a little salt. and that is why it is the mainstay of their diet. Yes. fried green tomatoes are also a delicacy. Slice them and add to a ham or turkey sandwich. I know – you purists are saying you'd never eat a tomato out of a can. and cook for 10 to 15 minutes. Recipes: Get a cookbook to see any of the thousands of possibilities for tomatoes. In the summer. add the tomatoes and a little salt and pepper. Pour on top of cooked pasta and you have a great Italian dish. Dinner: One of the easiest and fastest ways to make spaghetti sauce is to use a can of chopped or whole tomatoes. more food volume.almost no fat or calories. I like to sauté a little chopped garlic in olive oil.
buy them. Do you know the easiest way to cook fresh broccoli? Wash it off. put it in a glass or Pyrex dish. almost every vegetable out there… Buy whatever veggies are on sale. potatoes. You'll have perfectly steamed fresh broccoli that I GUARANTEE you will taste ten times better than the frozen stuff. and other serious diseases. put the dish in a microwave. the more taste it will have. beets. and you'll probably pay less. the lighter the seasoning the better. and many of these small-batch tomatoes – while not commercially feasible to grow – are loaded in flavor. They're also probably one of the most misunderstood of foods. fast cook as described above. So many people would rather rip open a bag of frozen broccoli than deal with stalks of fresh broccoli – presumably because they 'want to save time'. tastiest items you can buy in a store. a powerful antioxidant that may help your body’s natural defenses prevent cancer. and enjoy meals more. You can make hundreds of recipes using tomatoes as your base. The total time expenditure is about the same but buy the broccoli on sale. then cook on high for about 4 or 5 minutes. There are hundreds if not thousands of varieties of tomatoes available. unique taste and nutrients. Another tip: if you’re ever at a farmer’s market and you find heirloom tomatoes. And guess what: this same approach works for asparagus. and your family will begin to eat healthier.than the jars of sauce. cover with plastic wrap. Heirloom tomatoes are grown from seeds that are not currently in massproduction. To quote Rodney Dangerfield. VEGETABLES Fresh veggies are probably the healthiest. "Man – who don't like spaghetti?" Tomatoes are packed with tons of nutrients and they have great natural flavor. and the sooner you cook the tomato after picking from the vine. They’re one of nature’s best sources of lycopene. carrots. I find that the less you cook tomatoes the better. Here are some tips to win over the anti-veggie contingent in your household: 107 . add a little water. feel better. heart disease. strap a rubber band around the dish.
Put into a big pot. they're only 99¢ at the drug store. Mother Nature put an immense amount of flavor and subtle tastes into veggies to begin with.• Spray some fat-free butter on the veggies before you nuke them. If you're a bacon lover. You won't be weighed down with all of the fat of sour cream and butter but the potato will taste great. Normally. you really don't have to add a lot more for most dishes). Of course. (Hint: less is more when it comes to spicing up a veggie dish. If you don't like this. whereas the name-brand items can be $2-$3 at the grocery store. buy some of the dried bacon bits to sprinkle on as well. especially when they're 3/$1. as are the chocolate and rainbow ice-cream sprinkles. . but this will add useless calories and fat – especially the bad 'trans fats' – with little taste benefit. back to veggies… • Buy close-out veggies when they are available at your store and make a healthy soup or stew out of them. One major national drug store chain frequently issues coupons for spices at 3/$1.Tip 3: Look for coupons for the spices in your Sunday paper. the bacon bits are a bargain. I know the sprinkles are 100% refined sugar. try them on veggies and you will be pleasantly surprised.Tip 1: if the bacon bits are too hard on your teeth. • Use plain yogurt and butter spray on baked potatoes. . 108 . .Wash / peel / chop the veggies.Tip 2: look for these in the discount spice rack at your neighborhood drug store. Okay. (Yes. . Even if you've avoided these low-fat products because they don't taste as good or work as well as butter on sandwiches or toast. as appropriate. try the powdered butter substitute found in the spice section of your grocery. This is the 'zero calorie' spray that you find in the butter section. The recipe is extremely simple: . nuke them in a small dish with a little water. While most of their spices are about 95% salt. you can always use regular butter or margarine. but if you have kids you know that they go absolutely crazy for them and they're a big hit at birthday parties). with some water and simple spices.
(Hint: do not add the flour directly to the mix. If you happen to find a LOT of veggies on sale. You can freeze soup in leftover plastic containers from yogurt. simply pop the giant ice cube of soup into a pot and heat slowly for 10 or 15 minutes. add fresh or canned tomatoes prior to cooking. then add some flour and spices to form a paste. sour cream or plain yogurt near the end of the cooking cycle. add a little milk.Cook for about a half hour (or about 5 minutes if using a pressure cooker. to boot! • For a red sauce / French-style dish. it just looks better when it's pre-seared. To reheat. mix a little flour or corn starch with water in a cup. But there is a special reward in making a giant pot of delectable fresh vegetable soup for $2 or $3. pork or lamb. add some white or red wine to the dish. Frozen soup or stew will keep for months. and in most cases that is all you'll find available. A good recipe is to sauté some onions in butter until soft.Serve and enjoy.) • For meat dishes. If you have a breadmaker machine and make a loaf of homemade bread for about 50¢. • For a cream sauce. margarine. Example: make some 'roux' in the pot before you start cooking the veggies or veggie / meat combo. To thicken. Also. sour cream..) . Be sure all of the flour is dissolved into solution BEFORE you add the mixture to the broth. but if you have cubed beef. etc. and taste just as good – and sometimes better – than the first time around. or it will turn to lumps and clumps of dough and powder. The meat can cook along with the veggies (allow extra time). or freezing some for later. drizzle the mixture into the broth very slowly and keep stirring or the flour mixture can still turn into dough. SLOWLY add 109 . you can buy full-price fresh veggies. Of course. • For a little European flair. consider making a big pot of soup or stew and serving it all week long. and stir the mixture into the broth slowly. The best time to do this is before you cook the food. it's advisable to pre-sear the meat in a little olive or vegetable oil first. you can feed your family like royalty for less than $5 – and often enjoy 2 or 3 meals out of it.
if 110 . and excite your family's taste buds. salt and a little baking powder. • To stretch your soup / stew. cook some noodles separately and serve the soup over the noodles. Many Hungarian dishes such as goulash and Chicken Paprikash follow this process. water.00. You can also make a paste out of flour. DAIRY Dairy is one area in which it can be difficult to cut costs – difficult but not impossible. You don't need a 'box mix' to add variety to your diet. You'll find that you can make some GREAT international dishes in no time at all if you learn a few basics such as this. The variety of dishes you can cook for your family is endless. You can make excellent fresh noodles using nothing more than flour and salt. I'll find the small blocks of cheese on sale for about $1. • For a totally mind-blowing culinary sensation. rather than buying pre-grated cheese. just prior to serving.your wine to de-glaze the pan (all this means is that you loosen the sticky bits off the bottom of the pan and scrape everything into a consistent sauce).99 or more – literally double the price! Granted. and make excellent dumplings right in the soup. The same amount by weight of grated cheese will often be $1. you need a 'recipe mix' to shake things up. Consult any good cookbook to find out which spices to use with which veggies or veggie / meat combination. milk or yogurt to make a cream sauce out of your broth. Often. Here are some tools and techniques: Cheese: Buy blocks of cheese and grate them at home. 'Recipe boredom' does not have to be an issue in your household. and in thousands of different combinations with different spices and sauces. There is not a vegetable on this planet that cannot be cooked in hundreds of different ways. make a roux as described above and then when the dish is complete add sour cream. This roux / wine combination will thicken your sauce and add some very intricate and interesting flavors. and are among the tastiest meals you will ever eat. or just buy pre-made noodles if you're short of time.
How long does it take to grate cheese? It takes about 10 seconds. Milk: It's funny how milk prices can vary so dramatically by brand. you store the cheese in plastic container for future use.you don't have a food processor at home. and freeze what you don't need in the short-run. But here's a secret: all beef comes from a cow. you've wasted almost as much money as it would take you to buy a food processor and grate it at home. Sharp Cheddar or anything you'd like. using a food processor with a grater blade. and you can really save. Then. but many of the lesser-priced cuts can be turned 111 . If you buy one bag of grated cheese per week for a full year. Keep an open mind – and an open eye – when you're shopping for milk. Always look for the lowest price brand when shopping. My local store regularly puts half gallons of milk on sale for $1. Do the higher-price brands come from better breeds of cows? I don't think so. Most people grab the gallon container out of habit. because they want their family to enjoy the finest quality. Swiss. milk freezes and thaws out just fine… You can stock up on some FRESH items just like you stock up on canned goods. all pork comes from a pig. And for you singles out there: never buy a pint of milk. As long as you have a method of storing these items. That is why I believe you should make every effort to get a food processor as soon as you can afford one – or get yours out of the attic and actually start using it. People: two halves DO make a whole when it comes to milk. MEATS Most people avoid the lower-price cuts of meat. Buy a half-gallon or gallon. Another advantage of grating your own cheese is that you're not limited to American.79. you can grate Monterrey Jack. you're paying about a 150% markup over the larger sizes. Cheddar or Mozzarella. hand-grating a full block of cheese will take a lot of effort. Colby. while a full gallon container will be priced at $2. Prices these days can change from week to week. Another thing that amazes me at the store is how size-specific people have become. all the cuts are different and some cook up better than others. so get the bargains whenever you can.00 each. Sure. you can buy them while they are on sale. all parts of a chicken come from a chicken. Yes.
But the difference in cost can be significant. Often. because you're paying a huge mark up for a few pennies' worth of spices. all wings. because they are there when you need them and they're easy to cook. enjoyable meals. the higher the price you pay. the less you will pay. if you're willing to rebag them.Skinless / fresh Pre-Seasoned Breasts or Tenderloins Understand the 'preparation chain' of the food you buy. Boneless Breasts .Skinless / frozen Boneless Breasts . breasts with wings attached. From lowest to highest price. here's what you're likely to find: Whole Chickens or 'fryers' Half or Quartered Chickens Specific-Section Packs. but this is simply not practical for many people.Skin on Boneless Breasts . It's messy. and it's not particularly easy unless you learn how to do it. thigh sections. it takes time. I also recommend that you NEVER buy pre-seasoned meats. Or. Chicken To fully understand how the different cuts and packaging combinations of chicken affect price.into excellent. etc. The higher up this chain you buy. given the amount of time you can devote to cooking. and freeze them individually for one-at-a-time use later. or a few pennies worth of seasoning. the difference in the preparation time of your meals is just a few short minutes. you can buy packages of fresh breasts on sale. with all drumsticks. etc. including drumsticks. flavorful. 112 . It would be easy to preach that you should always buy whole chickens and cut them up as needed. It's all in the cooking process. the lower down the chain you buy. Bone-in Chicken Sections. all bonein breast sections. just look at the cost per pound of each variety. A relatively inexpensive and handy choice is skinless / frozen breasts. What I DO recommend is staying as high up this list as possible.
and look for the best value you can. I make a casserole-sized chicken potpie for fraction of the cost of buying a store-made pie. salt and shortening). For example. you can cook a delicious pot roast in less than 1 hour's time – start to finish. and sear your roast on all sides for a minute or two. and bake for about 15 minutes. based on how much cooking time and work you're willing to put in. onions. You'll also get great results if you cook it all day in a crockpot. hungry crowd. I simply cook two or three chicken breasts in the pressure cooker. it comes with your pressure cooker. This is a little metal plate that keeps the food away from the direct heat. Replace the roast. Try that in an oven – you can't do it! Here's the recipe: 1. so there is no great secret to buying individual cuts. Just about any cut of beef will come out tender and juicy if you slow cook it for about 3 hours at 250 degrees in the oven. and it will please a huge. Remove the roast and put the spacer in your pressure cooker. Put this all into a casserole dish and top with a simple piecrust (takes just a minute to make with flour. onions. I add some carrots. celery. peeled vegetables such as potatoes. Perhaps the best rule of thumb with non-ground cuts of beef is this: the cheaper the cut. Use whatever is in season and/or on sale. potatoes that I have cooked separately. carrots. You can add a can of tomatoes if you 113 . you should definitely consider buying one – especially if you often find yourself short of time to cook. Start to finish takes about 30 to 45 minutes. Heat a little oil in the pressure cooker. which you like.Chicken can be cooked in a multitude of ways. the slower it needs to be cooked. etc. If you don't have a pressure cooker. With a pressure cooker. and surround with cleaned. 2. just buy what you prefer. and then I thicken the remaining liquid with a little milk and some flour and water paste to make a cream sauce. My favorite way to cook lesser cuts of beef is in a pressure cooker. 3. and many ways to make tasty enjoyable meals using the lesser-priced cuts. Beef There are many different cuts of beef.
7. guess where it will be going? You may find that the costlier ground beef will yield bigger burgers with less fat. If you are planning to cook and serve your roast immediately. And if you don't drain away all the fat. or cut up some fresh tomatoes. A little extra preparation time and changing your cooking methods can make these cuts of meat just as delicious as 114 . let the pressure go down naturally. salt and pepper. but leave the cooker on the burner. tasty home-cooked meals but find yourself challenged for time. let the pot sit for an hour or longer. The longer you let the pot sit. and it will always come out great. so they're actually a better buy in the long run… Another way to tenderize cheaper cuts of beef is with meat tenderizer. the more tender your beef will be. If you can't wait. You can cook ANY type of meat in a pressure cooker this way.like a red sauce. Regarding chopped or ground beef. so there's no need to worry about your health. I would strongly urge you to invest in a pressure cooker. use your best dietary judgment rather than price to make shopping choices. If you want to serve your family hot. But they can make a world of difference in the tenderness of your beef. The cheaper ground beef contains the most fat. Add about 2 cups of water. which will be very evident when you cook it. try it and see! You can lower your meat costs by purchasing cheaper cuts of meat and cooking them differently. and you will have an incredibly tender roast. I would recommend cutting the meat into smaller chunks prior to cooking. This way it will tenderize better. Close the cooker and heat until the weight starts to rock. 6. If you can. Turn the heat off. 4. 8. 5. Cook for about 15 to 20 minutes. They simply can't be beat as a kitchen helper. drain it well after cooking. I like to add chopped garlic. If you do buy cheaper ground beef. you can place the cooker under running cold water to reduce the pressure immediately. The new types of tenderizer are NOT MSG-based. But remember – the value you thought you were getting will be going to waste when you drain away all the fat.
). healthy and flavorful meals. MARINARA SAUCE. potatoes or other vegetables. but they tend to be expensive and full of fillers and artificial ingredients. etc. potatoes. you can actually prepare these sauces in large quantities and store them in the freezer. And by using core ingredients as the base (rice. you can keep your food costs low. SAUCES: The Miracle Budget Stretcher When you get right down to it. you can make a better sauce 115 . beef. most meals consist of a base and a sauce. you can serve them over any core element to make delicious. For meat-eaters. the secondary element is rice or other grains. For vegetarians. you can work out your own system without buying expensive storage containers. You can pour your cooled sauce into quart-sized heavy-duty plastic kitchen bags and freeze. rice. very tasty sauces that you can make in minutes. Here are some very simple. Variety is the spice of life. the core element is one or more vegetables. pork or lamb. if you're serving single portions. You could buy pre-made sauces. the secondary element is rice. Or. or vegetables) and create gourmet meals that your family will love. and the variable element is the sauce or other seasoning additive. Serve them over your choice of core ingredients (cooked pasta. If you family is bored with the food you cook. With a little resourcefulness. As mentioned earlier. and the variable element is the sauce or spices.the higher-priced cuts. If you are typically stressed for time. That is why it is important to develop as many different sauce or spice combinations as possible. meats. Just put a sheet of plastic wrap or wax paper on top before freezing. commercial pasta sauces typically have a lot of starch fillers. noodles. wash and save your leftover yogurt cups or pudding cups and freeze the sauce in them. Then. the core element is chicken. spice things up: simple variations on the sauces you use to top your food can make meals new & exciting again. simply re-heat in a saucepan or in the microwave to serve. Once you've mastered these sauces.
Heat very briefly until garlic is barely cooked. This dish has been served for thousands of years – literally. Melt a stick of REAL butter (margarine will NOT work for this one) in a saucepan over medium high heat. fry some chopped garlic in a little olive oil. Top with chopped chives for color. sauté some chopped onions or chopped green peppers as well. but it does take extra time…). This is known in Italy as "Aglio et Oglio" and it is a classic. it's high on the cholesterol and fat content. and heat for 15 to 30 minutes. and when they're almost done.that is 100% natural by buying diced or pureed tomatoes and adding a few spices to your liking. If you like. When the butter 116 . If you want a decadent meal that people will rave about. I find that kids like it better without any spices). then serve over cooked pasta. stirring constantly. Top with grated cheese. Heat in a saucepan until it thickens slightly and then add your core ingredients. It is said that Homer lived on this dish while writing The Iliad. if available). Sautee for a few minutes and then serve over your core ingredients. This will taste WAY better than those 'quick side' pouch meals. start with a small carton of heavy cream. MUSHROOM SAUCE. Add a little Italian seasoning or basil (optional. Yes. The simplicity and powerful taste of this dish is amazing. To make a delicious marinara sauce. Serve over hot noodles and sprinkle on grated cheese. you can make a great sauce by melting some butter in a saucepan (real butter is best for sauces. purists prefer chopping the garlic fresh. When they are transparent but not browned. this will work every time. stirring occasionally. but margarine will do). For example. OLIVE OIL & GARLIC SAUCE. so you know it has to be good! Cook your noodles first. and you've got a great presentation. add a can of tomatoes (or fresh. Simply heat some olive oil in a saucepan and add chopped garlic (the jars of chopped garlic are easy and tasty. you can add a can of peas on some chopped ham. but if your goal is to impress. If your family likes mushrooms. BROWNED BUTTER SAUCE. start on your sauce. CREAM SAUCE. adding mushrooms and a sprinkling of garlic powder or chopped garlic.
WHITE MUSHROOM SAUCE. stews and other recipes. 2/3 cup sour cream and 1 teaspoon of salt. add 1 cup finely chopped green onions until transparent (but not brown). but do not boil. Nothing is lighter or cleaner than fresh lemon juice.starts to burn. PESTO. stirring constantly. Simply add some parsley. Pecorino. or serve it on top of your core ingredients as the main sauce. chopped chives and tarragon to plain yogurt. a half cup of fresh parsley leaves. remove the seeds. Melt 2 tablespoons butter over medium heat in a saucepan. 1 cup shelled walnuts (optional).) The flavor of this dish will overwhelm you. Top with grated hard cheese. stir and store. immediately take it off the stove. 2 to 4 cloves of garlic. and pour it over your noodles. You can use any really hard cheese such as Asiago. Try sprinkling on some fresh ground black pepper for extra zest. add 2 teaspoons white vinegar. Add 2/3 cup of whipping cream and cook until slightly thickened. Add additional oil until it forms a smooth paste. Add a half cup grated Italian cheese and process a few minutes longer until smooth. (Grating a fresh block of hard cheese just prior to serving will make your dish much more flavorful than if you use the 'green cardboard shaker' cheese. salt and half cup of oil (preferably extra-virgin olive oil). This is an unusually pungent and tasty sauce. Parmesan. Here's a quick and easy sauce 117 . ideal for special occasions. Heat through. This one takes a little longer and a few more complex ingredients. etc. 1 tsp. and serve on top of your favorite core ingredients. Puree in a food processor for a minute or two until smooth. This is an elegant sauce that turns any core ingredient into a gourmet treat. Reduce heat to low. SOUR CREAM SAUCE. For variety. You can use Pesto to add zing to soups. Squeeze fresh lemons into a bowl. it really brings out the flavor of vegetables. add chopped cucumber (known as Raita in Indian cooking). I recommend getting a small electric chopper to save time – and save your knuckles. LEMON JUICE. A cool and refreshing alternative to oil-based sauces is a simple and clean yogurt sauce. Start with 3 to 4 cups of basil leaves. YOGURT SAUCE.
and gradually stir in a half cup of water and a half cup of canned coconut milk.) Stir in 1 clove of garlic. ground cardamom. Stir in 1 cup of slivered or ground almonds. fresh mushrooms (try an egg slicer). on medium heat. stirring constantly. Stir in a half cup white wine. 2 tsp. Remove from heat immediately and serve over pasta. more people are discovering that spicy peanut sauce is great on barbecued meats. ground coriander. Add more water slowly until sauce is the right consistency. Fry until wilted and pale brown. but once you get a craving for it. 2 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley. they serve it over chicken and lamb. Add a dash of cayenne pepper. Cook over low heat until the flavors are blended. 2 tsp.that is sure to impress. or just as a side sauce to flavor up any meal. Cook for 10 min.) Serve over barbecued. 3 tsp. In a clutch. 1 tsp. vegetables or any core item combination. stirring constantly. Cook for 5 minutes. ALMOND CREAM SAUCE (Korma. it will be a welcome change of pace on your dinner table. Here's a decidedly elegant sauce you'll love as soon as you've tasted it. SPICY PEANUT SAUCE. Sautee 3 cups of finely chopped onions in 1 cup of olive oil (or clarified butter. but it's also ideal just by itself over rice or with vegetables. Up for something different? As Thai cooking grows in popularity. Remove from heat and cool at room temperature for 30 minutes or longer. stirring constantly. Remove from heat and puree in a blender with 2 cups of plain yogurt and a half cup of water. In India. Stir in 1 cup of heavy cream. typically found in health-food stores. ground red pepper. then reheat prior to serving. Heat a half cup of chunky peanut butter in a saucepan. ground cumin and 1 to 1-1/2 ¸tsp. is much better for cooking than the commercial brands. Slice 1 lb. but it's much better in the long run. (I find that the fresh-ground peanut butter. chopped fresh ginger. Here's an easy way to make this sauce quickly. minced very fine. from India). This sauce is a bit exotic. Top with grated cheese. but that takes extra work) over medium heat. ground fennel. served as a dipping sauce. buy the all-natural jar of peanut butter. Pour back into sauce pan and cook until thickened. Add salt and pepper to taste. and add salt & pepper to taste. it will require stirring. broiled or 118 . Add salt (course or sea-salt preferred) to taste. 1 tsp. Sautee in a half cup of melted butter until golden. (Flavors blend best when sauce is cooled then reheated.
hot chili paste. Heat over medium heat for 5 minutes and serve over your favorite core ingredients. name brand starts with a “D” and rhymes with turkey. use the oil only and not the peppers. a half tsp. Sesame oil and 1 tsp. CHINESE IMPERIAL SAUCE. Drizzle slowly into sauce to thicken. if desired. Mix 1 cup of mayonnaise with 1/8 cup Famous Sauce (available at your store. Chinese black vinegar (or 1-1/2 tsp. ginger. finely-chopped ginger. Soy sauce. you can make your own hot chili sauce in minutes. CHINESE HOT SAUCE. If you like things on the hot side. When using. a hlaf tsp. Add a dash of MSG for flavor-enhancement. salt & pepper to taste. mix 1 tsp. In a small cup. How do the Chinese make so many different dishes so quickly? The secret is their base sauces. Blend the tastes. place a handful of dried red peppers in a jar and add oil (olive. buy the inexpensive bottles of red chili flakes at the drug store or 'dollar' store. half tsp. Mix until blended. Add 1 tsp. vegetable. Worcestershire sauce). If you are cheap like me. and cost next to nothing! REMOULADE SAUCE. (optional. 3 tbl. then store your cooled sauce in the refrigerator in a jar and heat in a saucepan prior to adding your core ingredients. of sugar. To make hot oil. or more hot oil (see below). or your choice of core ingredient. Here's another basic Chinese sauce that you can use to make a range of different menu items. The Cajuns in Louisiana use this sauce on all types of seafood and sandwiches. Garnish your dish with fresh cilantro. Soy sauce. 1 tsp. Here's one that you can make in advance and serve over just about any core ingredient to make a tasty change-of-pace dish. then salt.) Slowly add in 3 tblsp. pepper and garlic powder to taste. sugar. plus 1 cup or more of dry sherry to taste. cornstarch with a little water to form a liquid paste. 1 tbs. 1 tbl. Add chopped garlic. In a small jar. add 1 tbs dry sherry and a half cup chicken broth. canola or any cooking oil you prefer).fried chicken. most people prefer no MSG). They work great. sugar. Start with 3 tbl. olive oil and beat 119 . HOT CHILI SAUCE. bean sauce (found in Chinese grocery stores). mix 3/4 cup ketchup. 1 tbl. Simply mix the following in a saucepan: 3 tbl. warm water. minced ginger root and 2 tbl.
That's because the items that are in most abundant supply – and therefore the lowest in cost – are usually the freshest. Add 3 tsp.vigorously. the variety of sauces you can cook is unlimited. 3 tsp. 2 tsp. mix 2 tablespoons flour with a little hot water until dissolved. grated parmesan cheese and allow to melt. This is also a Cajun recipe. minced parsley. Add 1 tsp. Add 1 can cream of mushroom soup and a half cup hot water. This recipe uses ingredients you probably have around the house. Add a half cup hot milk and slowly blend in 1 pint sour cream. a dash of hot pepper sauce. Simmer until thickened. and cooks very quickly. Bring to a simmer and then add 6 oz. Pour over any core ingredient for a delightful meal. many sauce recipes you can find in your favorite cookbooks or on the Internet. white pepper and 1/8 tsp. Whisk until blended. For sheer elegance. white pepper and a dash of Worcestershire sauce. ketchup. Creole or 'poupon' mustard and then mix again. 1 tsp. 1 tblsp. Add 1 tsp. In a small saucepan. 1/4 tsp. ULTIMATE CREAM SAUCE. salt. This is a spicy sauce that some people can't live without. nothing beats a complex cream sauce. 3 tbsp. chopped green onions. In a small cup. ideal over seafood. Blend in 2 tsp. prepared horseradish. 1 tsp. Bring to a simmer. Add to your list of sauces. each of cayenne pepper. Add salt if desired. 1/4 tsp. dried oregano and dried thyme. because they are being harvested now – not 6 months ago. As you can see. 120 . Melt a half stick butter in a saucepan. dry white wine. MEUNIERE SAUCE. and you will find that you can create exciting and varied dishes in minutes – for meals that your family will savor and thank you for again and again! Big Idea Recap – Chapter 17 BIG IDEA 80: CHEAPEST can often mean BEST when it comes to food selections. These are but a few of the many. beating after each ingredient. Louisiana hot sauce. lemon juice. Blend the flour mixture into the melted butter until thickened. combine 3/4 cup Butter or margarine. Worcestershire sauce. Heat on low for 5 minutes until blended.
so get the bargains whenever you can. and each will be tasty and healthy for your family to eat. more food volume. BIG IDEA 82: A large bag of potatoes has more nutrition. BIG IDEA 85: You can stock up on some FRESH items just like you stock up on canned goods. But the difference in cost can be significant. A little extra preparation time and changing your cooking methods can make these cuts of meat just as delicious as the higher-priced cuts. the higher the price you will pay. and that is why it is the mainstay of their diet. or a few pennies worth of seasoning. Prices these days can change from week to week. BIG IDEA 87: You can lower your meat costs by purchasing cheaper cuts of meat and cooking them differently. as long as you have a method of storing these items. the lower down the chain that you buy. You can make hundreds of recipes around the tomato. The higher up this chain that you buy. BIG IDEA 88: Variety is the spice of life.BIG IDEA 81: Make a large quantity of your core ingredients. BIG IDEA 84: There is not a vegetable on this planet that cannot be cooked hundreds of different ways. Often. you need a 'recipe mix' to shake things up. and more value than just about any item in your grocery store. and in thousands of different combinations with different spices and sauces. the less you will pay. and store them in a way that you can reheat them quickly for individual meals. BIG IDEA 86: Understand the 'preparation chain' of the foods you buy. so 'recipe boredom' does not have to be an issue in your household. BIG IDEA 83: Tomatoes are packed with nutritional value and flavor. That is why the Italians have been able to make thousands of individual recipes based off of this one vegetable. You'll cut vast amounts of time out of your cooking procedures. If your family is bored with the food you cook. the difference in the preparation time of your meals is just a few short minutes. spice things up: simple variations on the sauces you use to top your food 121 . and you'll eat fresh-cooked quality with every meal. You don't need a 'box mix' to add variety to your diet. The variety of dishes you can cook for your family are endless. you need to buy them while they are on sale. and excite your family's taste buds. The Irish knew this centuries ago.
noodles.). And by using core ingredients as the base (rice.can make meals new & exciting again. you can keep your food costs low. 122 . potatoes. etc.
• Fruit juice is very healthy and delicious. Tea bags are cheap! You can make fresh-brewed tea in the microwave in minutes and then add ice cubes and sweetener to make your own tea for less. but they cost $1.Chapter 18: Miscellaneous Cost Cutters Here are some random tips for saving money at the grocery store. some ice. You can also use this method to make summertime adult beverages – mix in a little fresh fruit and lemon or lime as well. It can often be almost 50% less in cost – and some frozen brands taste just as good as fresh.00 or more at the burger joints. Choose the storebrand. but it can also be very expensive. as it's known on the commodities market (Fresh Orange Juice Concentrate. and some pre-sweetened packet drink mix. You can make them at home using a blender. We use the sugar-free varieties. DRINKS • Brand-name soft drinks by the can are expensive. $2. and you'll lower the volume and weight of groceries that you have to truck back to your house. and you can make a great daiquiri without paying for those high-priced frozen mixes. liter or 2-liter sizes of the brand-name stuff. buy the quart. because the kids get less 'wired' than with the sugar mixes. that container of 'fresh' juice is actually factoryblended out of "FOJC". You'll avoid a huge mark-up. and serve in a glass with ice. or if you just don't like them.) What is at the core of any non-alcoholic drink? Water. Compare the cost of a half gallon of fresh orange juice to a can of frozen juice that makes a half gallon. 123 . • Kids love slushees.50. Avoid buying drinks that have the water added at the factory. and replace it with clean & fresh water out of your own tap. Your money will go a lot farther! • Iced tea by the can or by the jar of mixture can be expensive. And in many cases.
melt one edge to seal it in the machine. you’ve spent $6 plus another $2 or $3 in plastic supplies. you can purchase one of those food-saver machines. but they’re very expensive – and the kids will overeat them if you buy the large economy size. Plus. With one of these machines. you cut off a section of pouch material. Market it as 'healthier-size portions' and people will pay the mark-up and be glad for it. 124 . Does it make a difference? Well. fill it with your food. Now. and then the machine sucks out the air and seals the flap air-tight? They’re really not that expensive to purchase. buy the large-size package and divvy the product out into small baggies yourself. they cost about half as much. • If you give your kids snacks for school. You'll accomplish the same goal. but instead of spending $20 or more on individual packets. and double or triple the cost of the item by weight. if it’s an item you buy every month.COOKIES & SNACKS • The store brands of cookies are often as good if not better than the name brands. AVOID THESE PRODUCTS. because you're paying a wildly-inflated cost for the food inside those packets. here’s the advantage. you’re saving $133 or more per year – and best of all you’re keeping the little ones happy. you can individually package your own portions and lock them up in a storage closet. You know. by weight. The net result: one 5 lb. but lower your total food bill. the ones that use a roll of plastic pouch material. Let’s say that your kids just absolutely love those chocolate-coated candies. If you want to implement portion control. because they haven’t had to make any sacrifice. use your own plastic bags and dish out a small portion of these items from a larger bag. If you are super-diligent about this. purchase can last for a full month. Those small pre-packs of snacks are about three to four times more expensive. than bagging the same portion yourself! PORTION CONTROL The marketing gurus at the food manufacturing companies have latched onto a great idea: package smaller amounts of their product in tiny packets.
This same type of product. ammonia. and by buying big you won't be running out as often. • Shop at the dollar stores. Just do a web search on “homemade cleaning supplies” and you'll find dozens of sites offering recipes for cleaners that you can make for a fraction of the cost of the name-brand versions. Their homemade version works just as well as the commercial stuff because the lemon juice dissolves the dirt and smudges on the surface while the olive oil shines and protects the wood. which can seep into the cracks in the wood and cause problems if you ever decide to refinish the wood. bathroom cleaner. many of these items will actually be environmenally-friendly. oven cleaner.. Imagine that – a cheap and effective product that does a better job than the high-priced sprays! 125 . vinegar. you guessed it – a dollar! And the remarkable thing is. It should make you feel smarter. So when you're buying household items like laundry detergent. or log onto one of the many websites that show you how to make clone – copies of brand – name cleaning products yourself.. buy the big container and use a coupon.. the kind that uses citric acid as the main cleaning ingredient – and it only cost $1. Does it somehow make you feel cheap? It shouldn’t. You’ll find a treasure-trove of cleaning supplies at the dollar store for the remarkable price of. For example. rubbing alcohol. They claim that most commercial polishes and sprays use silicone oil. dishwasher soap. etc. one web site lists a recipe for furniture polish that is made entirely out of olive oil and lemon juice. when purchased at the “oh so environmenally concious” earth-friendly store will cost you as much as $4. etc. – saving you 70% to 80% off the cost of buying the brand-name stuff. Many of these items such as window-washing solution. You’ll find that many of the home-made products will actually be better for your home and for the environment. I found a huge bottle of orange spray cleaner – you know. etc. can be made out of a combination of water. the need to clean.CLEANING SUPPLIES • One thing will never change. baking soda.. this stuff won't go bad. • Read the 'Hints from Heloise' column in your newspaper.79! So you’re reducing your cost by over 75% by purchasing at the cheapskate store.
When you see bargains like this. based on the number of coupons that the school turns in for credit. One of the best and largest grocery-related programs around is "Boxtops for Education" sponsored by General Mills. With this program. consider buying a few extras for the less fortunate. It helps local schools get free or discounted educational supplies. And that brings up another very important point: saving money to help others. Since General Mills is such a large manufacturer and distributor of food products. And if you happen to find pet food or pet supplies on close-out. There are many people who could benefit from your shopping activities. Just keep a plastic bag in your pantry or kitchen drawer and clip these coupons all year long – even if you don't have school-age kids. but the proceeds that your local schools can receive from it are huge. and they will certainly appreciate your thoughtfulness. Many of these home-made products actually work better than the store brands as well.Make your own cleaning solutions and you can easily save $20 or $30 per month off your grocery bill. too – and their caretakers never get enough money or support to provide the animals with everything that’s needed. Our furry friends need help. You could collect enough over one year's time to provide $20 or $30 worth of educational supplies for your local schools. The program costs you nothing extra. you'll find these coupons on dozens of different products you buy every week. Help Your Community with Coupons – Even If You Won't Personally Benefit. you simply clip the little coupon that is printed on the packaging and collect them. Each one is worth about 10 cents towards school supplies or educational equipment. buy a bunch of everything and drive it out to the animal shelter or ASPCA. Helping to provide a 126 . SUPER BARGAINS • Often you will find that your store is discontinuing an item. and will put it on sale for pennies on the dollar to clear it out quickly. Every town and city has a center that accepts food and household items for the poor.
Food banks collect canned goods and non-perishable items for distribution to hungry families throughout your area. there are many other community groups that could benefit from the discounts and bargains you are able to achieve through proper shopping techniques. Value is not as important as providing the best quality for your family so price should not be your only motivation when shopping. and you'll lower the volume and weight of groceries that you have to truck back to your house. you can enjoy the finest items in the store for a fraction of the everyday retail price. It's easy to enjoy BETTER food and pay LESS money if you follow the steps outlined in this book. You'll avoid a huge mark-up. chances are the item is well worth the price they are asking for. If you follow the methods outlined in this book. 127 . Of course. Spending less money on food does NOT mean you have to buy lower quality items.better education for our children is something we can all be proud of. what's the point? Life is too short. If you find yourself buying inferior products or lowering your standards in the quality of the food you buy. Buy concentrated juices and powdered drinks. Big Idea Recap – Chapter 18 BIG IDEA 89: Cut down on drinks that have water added at the factory. It will be more enjoyable in the long run. One immediate idea is to see if you have a Second Harvest or other food bank in your area. When you do see an incredible bargain on a particular item. Rather than sacrifice quality. and the higherpriced item is definitely of better quality. If you see a clear-cut difference in the quality of an item. But if you find yourself buying inferior products just to save a few pennies. you can be a hero by purchasing one or two extra items and donating them to the food bank. and you and your family are too important to settle for second best. you're not using the system correctly. QUALITY • It needs to be said that nothing substitutes for good quality. I would recommend buying a smaller portion of the better quality items and consuming less.
BIG IDEA 91: Make your own cleaning solutions and you can easily shave $20 or $30 per month off your grocery bill. BIG IDEA 93: Be an "angel" and participate in free programs such as "Boxtops for Education" that help others. Or simply buy extra nonperishable items when you see them on super-sale and donate them to your local foodbank. consider buying the large economy-size package of a product and doling out the portions yourself. and therefore the quality of the products you purchase and use is also important. Many of these homemade products can actually work better than the name brands! BIG IDEA 92: Quality of life is important. Use the tips in this book to buy top-quality products for less. Saving money does NOT have to equate to settling for less. get a food-saver machine and make air-tight pouches for longterm use. You'll help out your community and store up some good karma while you're at it. or if you are especially resourceful.BIG IDEA 90: If you want to provide portion-controlled servings. You can use plastic bags. 128 .
I thought it was an error. ignore this if you find it confusing. How many of these instances involved the brand name featured in the coupon? I answered the maximum in each case. ALWAYS say that you are interested in the featured product and would like to try it. (techie note only. two of my local stores had a namebrand line of potato mixes on BOGO. These are the box mixes of augratin or scalloped potatoes. I tend to be cynical. but it sure appeared to me that the food .) I logged in using a Zip Code from another state. Why do you suppose that would happen? Answer: they didn't want to cannibalize their profits from a current customer. Guess what? No potato coupon was found! Just out of curiosity (and frantic to get my potato coupon) I logged in using a different browser (Internet Explorer instead of Firefox) so there would be no ‘cookies’ stored for my account. It’s actually a ploy they use to REMOVE the coupons for items that are already on local promotion in your area.the coupon: 1. So when you encounter these 'surveys'. How many times per week does your household use milk flavorings? 2. How do I know this? Recently. I entered my Zip Code to get the local offers. This way. so I logged out and logged back in again. I went to my favorite online coupon site and saw a 40¢ coupon for this item on page 1 of the site. you are almost certain to get the maximum value coupon available on the site that day. and I was quickly routed to a 'technical malfunction' page that said the coupon could not be printed at this time. Because the same offer was made at the two largest grocery chains. but you currently use a competing brand. Just to see what would happen. and guess what – the potato coupon reappeared! 130 Now.” I discovered something surprising about this. Here’s another trick: Some of these online sites will ask you to enter your Zip Code to find “local savings. it was apparent that this was a major push to get people to try these products at the start of the fall/winter “hot food” season. and the potato coupon disappeared from the list.
I was asked to review and “accept” or “skip” about 8 lengthy offers for insurance. etc.25 ($1.) Moral of the story: you may want to avoid asking for “local savings” coupons if you really want to save more money locally. This site will make you work hard to get to the coupons – but it’s worth the effort. On a recent visit. you will instantly be signed up for a wide array of offers.80 for 2 boxes) Of course. But I know from experience that most stores ignore this request because they want to please the customer. the internet coupon was marked “Do Not Double”.29 total for 2 boxes) $0. and some tips on getting the best coupon values on each site.29 per box $0.com. Here’s why: Normal price of item Cost per item using only the BOGO offer Cost per item using BOGO offer AND the doubled coupon $1. This site features about 20 to 30 coupons per week on all types of consumer products. or you will forever be inundated with emails and marketing offers. They even put the coupons in the same position on each page. medicine. Here are some coupon sites to visit.com. Read the fine print carefully and uncheck all offers before proceeding. they’ll typically double every coupon that is within their accepted value range (any coupon under 50¢ at my local store.manufacturer didn’t want me using both the doubled coupon AND the BOGO offer. Just be aware that they are partnered with dozens of information-compiling sites. Eversave.29 minus $0. The easiest way to do this is to “select all” and print.65 ($1. and unless you uncheck the requests on their pages. CoolSavings. so you can cut a stack of pages all at once and the coupons will all be trimmed out correctly! 131 . magazines. But then the payoff was huge: 82 coupons were available to pick and choose.
you have to agree to complete a very lengthy survey and tell them everything about yourself – in great detail. This site requires that you pay a $7. plus you must install their printer drivers to print coupons. and you get to choose by specific brand names. etc. Here. the shopping cart changes the quantity to 5 – even if you only selected 1. you don’t have to do all that clipping… Clipngocoupons.com. The drawback is that you have to pay to save. but you do pay for each coupon. up until the expiration date of the coupon. But overall. then pay an additional $8. You select the coupons online and receive them in the mail within 7 to 10 business days. This site is well organized. the Baltimore Sun. so you should be a very avid coupon user to cover the startup fee. You can order multiples of the same coupon.50 fee to join.com. you can stock up on the specific coupon. Plus. CentsOff. gourmet food items. Coupons. Thecouponclippers.95 annual fee however. as well as the number of coupons currently available and the expiration date. This site offers pre-clipped coupons. This site requires you to register with minimal information.com. You have to go through quite a bit of mumbo-jumbo before you ever get to the coupons. so you will be directed here from many other sites. Fees typically range from 5¢ to 15¢.com. I would recommend this site if you are buying for a community group such as your Boy Scout 132 . it displays the specific coupons available by category. plus a 50¢ administration fee. Times. you don’t pay an annual fee.. you can plan your savings over time.A. On this site.OnlineCoupons. personal and cleaning products and more. One annoying thing about this site is that on coupons that cost you 5¢. so if your family is a big consumer of a particular item. on items that your family is very likely to want and use – items like popular cereal brands. this site has a huge selection of coupons at very reasonable prices.25 to receive up to 50 coupons by return mail. Plus. and that just kind of goes against the grain of true cheapskates. They offer a large number of coupons at very good price points.com. A good site to visit often! NOTE: this site is rebranded by local newspapers such as the L. There is a $99.
" GroceryDiscounts. entertainment. It's like having 230. But visit it. shopping. The site features a surprising number of local coupons that you can print out and redeem for discounts on dining. As posted on their site.com. rebates and regional offers posted here. but also some unique freestanding sites great for rebate-searching. especially when a consumer posts a complaint here. when you plan to make multiple purchases of specific items over the long term. Plus. etc. because you will regularly find responses from the PR departments of the big companies. You are not the only consumer that wants to save money on groceries. This is the author’s web site. This is a great site for sharing coupon tips and techniques with people from across the country.com for grocery discounts. however.S. The food industry giants monitor this site. you can get valuable tips from hundreds of other value-conscious shoppers across the U. value and guidance. It means that you sign up on line and then you receive an email that you must respond to if you want to get to the online coupons. MyClipper. they provide valuable information about what offers are good and not so good.com. Plus. and all the rebates and coupons to make it happen at the lowest possible price. 133 . Members of this site post information about hot deals and web sites where you can download coupons. You are required to provide specific household information to sign up. This site uses a double opt-in validation process.com. with comments from people who have claimed them or have comments about the offer.000 friends to ask advice from. so I really can’t toot my own horn.Troop or church social group. and see what you think. The site simply links to EverSave. "FatWallet's mission is to serve consumers with knowledge. Thefrugalshopper.us. I was impressed at the high coupon values and diversity of local establishments participating on this site. You'll find 'hot deals' on coupons. so it may be disappointing if you are looking for printable grocery coupons. This site maintains a large number of links to coupon values. There are no grocery coupons on this site. too! Fatwallet. many leading to the sites listed above. We offer many links to the best savings of the week.
134 . Chances are. Join some of the ‘blogs’ (web logs) related to cost-cutting. You can benefit from their experiences and wisdom by searching the internet and reading about their tips & techniques. Big Idea Recap – Chapter 19 BIG IDEA 94: Use the internet to your advantage BEFORE you go food shopping. You'll find dozens – if not HUNDREDS – of coupons that you can print and redeem immediately. and share your successes with other value-minded individuals. Knowledge = cash savings for you.Millions of people today have to count pennies to stay afloat. and make a new friend. you’ll learn some great money-saving tips that you can use over and over again. BIG IDEA 95: Use the internet to capture tips & techniques from other shoppers. you might just meet a kindred spirit on one of the blog sites. Plus.
is that you're definitely going to be spending more time at your local grocery store. Cart Courtesy. you'll probably be blocking a few dozen shoppers during that time. Nothing is more frustrating that waiting behind someone who is stopped in the middle of the aisle. pull your cart over to the side of the aisle so others may pass. You can't teach a stranger what their mama was unable to many years ago. take a glance around every so often to see if anyone is waiting nearby. If it's in the middle of the aisle and you'll probably be waiting in line for 5 minutes or longer. Unfortunately you'll find this to be the case among the people sharing the aisles of your grocery store. and pull your cart off to the side before you get in the line. So if you see someone lurking nearby. two or more people will need the exact same item on the exact same shelf at the exact same time. be aware of where you left your cart. if you're waiting in line at the butcher or deli counter.Chapter 20: Grocery Store Etiquette One thing to bear in mind as you implement these saving techniques we've discussed. This certainly brings us to the issue of your fellow shoppers. "Courtesy is only a thin veneer on the general selfishness". but you're going to get to know your local store pretty well. When you're not moving. Here are a few ways you can become a more courteous shopper and make everyone's shopping experience more pleasant. People's behavior in the grocery store is a mirror reflection of their attitude towards others. you might only be spending a little more time than you do already. It was Honore De Balzac who said. Take a minute to think of other shoppers. Similarly. Shelf Surfing. they're 135 . one way or another. Okay. As it often goes with Murphy's Law. But you can demonstrate proper courtesy yourself and hope that some of it wears off on others. If you're taking a particularly long time to review the products on the shelf. and either doesn't know – or doesn't care – that other people are shopping in the store at the same time.
Instead of. But if you try to resolve the situation in the checkout line and hold the other shoppers up for 5 minutes or so. So your 5-minute excursion to the service counter could save you a few extra dollars. 136 . the cashiers will have you pegged as a ‘problem customer’ which is not a good way to make friends or get preferential treatment when you shop. Can we check the sale flyer to see if I’ve got the right item?” In other words. They’re just people. So give them a break. It makes for a more pleasant exchange. okay? Wrong Price / Wrong Coupon. they’ll never let you live it down. trying to make it through their shift.. “oh oh – I think the scanner took the original price and not the sale price. If there is a huge line at your grocery store and the scanner simply won’t ring up the correct price or accept your coupon. don’t pitch a fit or blame the cashier: offer to fix it at the Customer Service counter after you check out. Plus. Your fellow shoppers will be very appreciative. don’t jump down their throat: mention that there is an issue with the price that the scanner has entered. If you have a discrepancy on a price. Here’s another value-shopping tip for you: most stores have a ‘no error’ policy that will give you one of the sale item FREE if their system rings up the wrong price. as well. if you’re wrong. as will your cashier. take it up with a customer service representative after you finish paying for your groceries. you can accept your error. So make your choice and move on. the cashier is NOT trying to rip you off.. So give her a break. like you and me. Plus. put the blame on the computer and not on the poor cashier who is just doing his or her job. it reflects poorly on her if she’s got a situation with an irate customer. try. she’s there to help you. It’s important to mention that the cashier at your local grocery store is working to feed his or her family. Plus. Cashier Courtesy.probably waiting for you to move. And. They’re not there to represent the ‘big bad grocery store chain’ or ‘big corporate food manufacturers’. “hey – you’re trying to rip me off!”. and simply walk away from the service counter. and she wants your shopping visit to be pleasant. apologize. If you’re certain that you are entitled to the lower price or the coupon redemption. needless to say (but I’m going to say it anyway).
Big Idea Recap – Chapter 20 BIG IDEA 96: If you notice a price discrepancy at the cash register. Instead. 137 . it can pay to NOT mention it to cashier. walk over to the customer service counter after you’ve paid. You may get one item free if the pricing error was caused by the store’s computer.
The bad news is. many 139 . you can purchase this same item for $3. so they don't have to search for the price. The cashier asked me to always hand them the coupon at the same time they are scanning the free item. Free & BOGO Coupon Presentment Order.99 but this week it’s on sale for $3. you can get the price-saving advantage of shopping at ALL of the stores in your are. This one tip alone can shave $20 or $30 off your weekly food bill. If you take store “A’s” flyer to store “W”. Store “A” has the goal of getting you to come in for that one bargain. There are many coupons that offer an item for free but they also indicate that the cashier must write the purchase price on the coupon. A good tip is to put those items LAST on the conveyor belt. regular price $7. This makes it easier for the cashier to find the prices. This may be one of the only loss-leaders they advertise for the week.Chapter 21: Miscellaneous Time-Saving / Money-Saving Tips Here are some ways to save time at the grocery store. This information can be used to your advantage in many ways. at the same time you are saving money using the tips and techniques found in this book. In other words. One of America’s largest discounters offers a unique value proposition. and put the free and BOGO coupons FIRST on your stack of coupons. Let’s say.” This particular store will match their competitor’s advertised sale price on the exact same item.99 – all the while taking advantage of store “W’s” other low prices. But the fun – and the savings – don’t have to end there. for example. You can also take flyers from store “B” and from store “C” and “D” into store “W”.99. They'll really appreciate your effort! Competitive Price-Matching. but purchase the rest of your weekly food needs at their regular store prices. Let’s call them store “W” and affectionately nickname them “Wally World. A cashier recently told me something about the processing of 'free' and 'BOGO' coupons. but you won’t have to burn up your valuable time and gasoline to visit these stores. that store “A” has put the large size of laundry detergent on sale.
The secret to accomplishing BOTH of these goals is to do a little pre-planning. In time. I may find only three or four coupons. "Acme Grocery". You’ll just have to do the math yourself to decide which stores in your area offer the best final-cost pricing on the items you need. i.m. Now. and it's one that 90% of all shoppers fall into.stores like store “W” do not double your coupon’s value. I locate the sale items. when you're reading the Sunday paper. but they are the best bargains for that day in that store. Speed Shopping.” That wouldn’t be fair to them.e. I find it very beneficial to scan the grocery flyer from my local store. you probably want to breeze in and breeze out of the grocery store. you will save money on food. 140 . And honestly. I pull out the coupons and place them in the envelope I've got named specifically for that store. Make Saving a Habit. but it can be very costly if you don't time to shop for bargains or take advantage of the in-store sales on that particular day. many times the net cost of items at store “W” are lower with single-value redemption on coupons that they are at competing stores with double-value redemption. You're in a huge rush at 4 p. If you only need three or four items to complete your meal on a Sunday afternoon. when I would have otherwise experienced savings of probably 0% had I not taken the extra few minutes to scarf up these values. and then I do a quick perusal of my grocery coupon envelopes to see if I have matching coupons. you will consistently find yourself paying less for food because you have changed the way you shop. they don't know any other way. But you're relaxed and taking your time at 8 a. It only takes an extra two or three minutes to pick them up.m. You're probably a wiz at the 'self-scan' aisle and know how to shave minutes off your trip. when you need those three or four items. The net result: I experience savings of 40% or 50% on my total order that day. but when I'm breezing in to Acme for my 10-minute kamikaze shopping blitz. Paying full retail for food is a bad habit. I run by and pick up those three or four sale items that I have coupons for. Most of the time. All this is great. I’m not suggesting that you ONLY buy the price-match items at store “W. If you habitually follow even a few of these money-saving tips.
If the item is in fine condition but you just think it's nasty-tasting. Grow Your Own Vegetables and Herbs. Now you're asking me to put on bib overalls and farm the back 40? What are you. Try it. return it to the store for a new one. Turn this to your advantage. Even their friend who weighs 300 lbs and regularly cleans out my refrigerator of all leftovers. Once in a blue moon. You might be surprised at how easy it is to grow your own herbs and save on the cost of buying them fresh. actually. you can grow your own tomatoes or green beans and save lots of money on fresh vegetables. cilantro.00 off coupons for their other products. and they all spit it out. So it was well worth my time to complain. If you like gourmet cooking. If you have a patio or deck. (Is that unethical. you can cook them up in a pressure cooker and make a delicious soup in less than an hour. The manufacturer wrote me back and send me three $1. nothing is better than fresh basil. you will purchase an item that will either have gone bad. it's nothing like that. If it's defective. – and these grow very well in small pots that you can put on a window sill. to take things out of the recycling bin? No! You are doing better than recycling – you are re-using!). or even just a few square feet on the side of your driveway. I know what you're thinking: I barely have time to zip through the grocery store. Okay. because my personal focus group is pretty reliably when it comes to evaluating kid's foods. Tomatoes grow very well in a large bucket – and you can often find the large 5-gallon plastic pails thrown away behind restaurants or in the recycling bin. So I wrote a note to the manufacturer and told them that they needed to reformulate or at least re-think the product. CRAZY??? No. and use them to make a pot of soup! Monday's are good days for grocery stores to clear out their leftover inventory from the weekend. So if you pick up a bag of mixed vegetables for $1 or $2. Start a Soup Night. write a quick letter to the manufacturer and tell them so. I recently bought a juice item for my kids.Never Settle for Poor Quality. taste horrible. the grocers expect a certain amount of 'breakage' as it's known in the trade. You can also find meat that is expiring and on-sale 141 . Every grocery store has vegetables that are reaching their peak and must be sold quickly. thyme. or just not be usable. he spit it out. etc. parsley.
you can not only save money – you can prepare them into a delicious. using your breadmaker. the store couldn't sell them if they weren't. BIG IDEA 98: If you get in the habit of ALWAYS picking up a bargain or two EVERY TIME you visit the grocery store. you will see a consistent and ongoing reduction in your net cost of food. you can enjoy the best values from every store in your area. That's up to $360 savings per year – plus you'll eat better and tastier meals. If they're defective. By taking the other store’s sales flyers into the big-box store. without the added cost or time of actually driving to all of these stores. If you make bargain-grabbing a habit. 142 . BIG IDEA 100: A few minutes per day invested in growing your own vegetables and herbs can easily save you $20 or $30 per month.for ﬁ the price or less. If they're just poorly made or you are completely dissatisfied with them. write letters: you'll get satisfaction in the end – and probably save a few extra bucks as well. that is still absolutely fresh and good to eat that day but must be sold by the store before midnight to comply with basic regulations. Big Idea Recap – Chapter 21 BIG IDEA 97: Some big-box grocers offer to match competitive store’s sales prices. you will habitually save on food. BIG IDEA 99: You never have to pay for items that truly are unusable. welcome meal that your family will love and look forward to every week. get your money back or get a replacement. BIG IDEA 101: Bargain meats and vegetables are still very edible and nutritious. By learning how to prepare these items quickly. and you have a gourmet treat that's easy on the budget as well. It makes a terrific dinner. Take advantage and cook it all up together with a few spices. Bake a loaf of fresh bread the night before.
and your piggybanks remain full! 143 . You can shop quickly and efficiently. You can feed your family for less and enjoy nutritious. You don't have to settle for second best. regardless of how time-challenged you are. there you have it. delicious meals that can improve their health and you can save lots of money in the process. and you don't have to pay top dollar to get the finest groceries available in the store. May your coupon-cutting scissors remain sharp. Good shopping to you all. I hope that the ideas presented here have given you a new outlook on food and cooking in general.Closing Notes Well.
coupon dispensed at register after purchase.coupon that a grocery store doubles in value Free Item Coupon . usually from red blinking box BOGO or B1G1 .Manufacturer MFR .Manufacturer Money + .Cash register tape DCRT.Name. These are the actual term to the coupons you get in your Sunday newspaper.A coupon that allows you to get the product completely free FSI .Hot Deal Alert or Home Delivered Ad HT or HgT.National Brand Qualifier 144 .manufacturer's coupons CRT . usually has a red border C/O .Buy one get one free Catalina .In search of LTD .Dated cash register tape DCRTC .Refunds that require only a UPC# written on a CRT Coufund .The health and beauty aid section in the grocery store HDA . address.GLOSSARY Guide to refunding and couponing terms : Blinkies . zip code NB .Do Not Double (the coupon is not supposed to be doubled) Double coupon .instore smartsource coupon dispensed near product.Free Standing inserts. Also referred to as SS coupons or insert coupons.Limited. as on a refund form it will say you're limited to a certain number of purchases MFG .cents off coupon Codes . HBA .Premiums that require money in addition to a proof of purchase NAZ .Hope this helps ISO .National Brand NBQ .Dated cash register tape with the price circled DND .for coupons that need some proof of purchase such as UPC's attached Cpns .Hang tags for refunds or coupons hanging on a product HTH .
Your Mileage May Vary (Success of offer is variable.No expiration date Nfp .NED .The POP required for a refund offer that is physically taken from that package RAOK .Universal Product Code WSL .On a single item POP .) 145 .sweepstakes form Tear pad .refund form found in a newspaper NT WT .proof of purchase PP . a $1 coupon = $2.A pad of refund forms found hanging from a store shelf or display TMF .net weight OAS .specially marked packages SS . etc) SWEEPS .Try Me Free Triple coupon .a coupon that is good on one purchase.Sunday supplement coupons (FSI) Super doubles .Random act of kindness SF .Paypal handling fee Q or Qualifier.a coupon that a grocery store triples in value UPC .Store form SMP .while supplies last YMMV . any size OSI .coupons that are doubled $1 + in value (ie.purchase price PPHF .
Savings Example 146 .
Savings Example 147 .
Savings Example 148 .
Savings Example 149 .
Savings Example 150 .
Savings Example 151 .
Savings Example 152 .
Savings Example 153 .
even 50% or more on groceries TAKING SIMPLE STEPS. This is real money that you can bankroll to make life-changing differences in your family’s lives.THIS DEFINITIVE GUIDE to saving money on groceries is a godsend to families who struggle to make ends meet. retailers and financial institutions. You will learn how to completely re-shape your approach to food.40% . How to think like a chef to get the best shopping values on any given day SYSTEMATIC SAVINGS. Understanding how to leverage the grocery manufacturer’s promotional cycles AISLE MASTERY. You can shop smarter even if you’re always in a hurry LEVERAGE. You will learn the inside secrets that the food industry doesn’t want you to know – and how you can harness that knowledge to beat them at their own game. . If you’ve tried ‘skimping’ on quality or selection just to lower your costs. His clients have included many of the nation’s largest manufacturers. this book will show you how easy it is to actually IMPROVE your menu and INCREASE meal satisfaction – all while PAYING LESS CASH each week for groceries. Inside the pages of “Better Groceries for Less Cash” you will quickly learn and master the simple techniques of value buying. and develop lifelong money-saving habits such as: MAKING BETTER CHOICES. Your family will love the results – and so will your budget! RANDALL PUTALA is a career advertising executive that has worked for some of America’s largest agencies including BBDO. Selecting core ingredients rather than paying for high-priced ‘pre-mixed’ items THINKING LIKE A MARKETER. Buying the best for less than the ‘off brands’ SMARTER COOKING. a non-profit foundation dedicated to solving the world hunger crisis. How to use coupon doubling and store promotions to maximize savings STAYING IN SEASON. 101 simple action steps that you can learn in minutes If your family spends $100 or more on food per week. and Allied Graphic Arts.500 in savings per year! And if you’re spending $200 or $300 per week – you can easily save $3. Putala is also the founding director of World Hunger Team.000 per year.000 to $5. FKB Group PLC. That’s at least $1. Discover the system that can save you 30% . within days of reading this book you can start saving a minimum of $30 per week – all while eating tastier and more nutritious meals.
This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
We've moved you to where you read on your other device.
Get the full title to continue reading from where you left off, or restart the preview.